Applicability and feasibility of systematic review for performing evidence-based risk assessment in food and feed safety

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2015;55(7):1026-34. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2013.769933.


Food and feed safety risk assessment uses multi-parameter models to evaluate the likelihood of adverse events associated with exposure to hazards in human health, plant health, animal health, animal welfare, and the environment. Systematic review and meta-analysis are established methods for answering questions in health care, and can be implemented to minimize biases in food and feed safety risk assessment. However, no methodological frameworks exist for refining risk assessment multi-parameter models into questions suitable for systematic review, and use of meta-analysis to estimate all parameters required by a risk model may not be always feasible. This paper describes novel approaches for determining question suitability and for prioritizing questions for systematic review in this area. Risk assessment questions that aim to estimate a parameter are likely to be suitable for systematic review. Such questions can be structured by their "key elements" [e.g., for intervention questions, the population(s), intervention(s), comparator(s), and outcome(s)]. Prioritization of questions to be addressed by systematic review relies on the likely impact and related uncertainty of individual parameters in the risk model. This approach to planning and prioritizing systematic review seems to have useful implications for producing evidence-based food and feed safety risk assessment.

Keywords: Evidence synthesis; meta-analysis; risk model; transparency; uncertainty.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / adverse effects
  • Animal Welfare / standards
  • Animals
  • Environment*
  • Food Handling / methods
  • Food Safety*
  • Food*
  • Humans
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Plants
  • Risk Assessment
  • Toxicology