Jul 13, 2022

Risk ranking exercise conducted on food hazards in Ethiopia

Ethiopia bears a significant burden of foodborne illnesses. The Global One Health initiative (GOHi) has been working on the Assessment and Risk Management of Foodborne Illnesses (TARTARE) – a food safety project – since 2019. The overarching goal of this project is to reduce morbidity and mortality from foodborne diseases. In 2020, the project conducted a risk scoping workshop which helped clarify existing understanding and practices related to risk mitigation in food safety.

Recently, GOHi conducted a risk ranking workshop from June 28-30 to understand which hazards could be categorized as high risk, medium risk and low risk. During the scoping workshop, the group identified a list of 43 pathogens and five risk metrics for the risk ranking purpose. GOHi used various metrics to rank the hazards, including incidence rate, mortality rate, case fatality rate and disability-adjusted life years.

Participants were selected from key food safety stakeholders in Ethiopia and senior food safety experts from various countries. The facilitators of the risk ranking exercise included internationally recognized researchers and experts on food safety, including the principal investigator of this project, Barbara Kowalcyk, associate professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology at The Ohio State University. A risk prioritization exercise will follow the risk ranking exercise.

The risk ranking and prioritization results will help design intervention strategies based on effectiveness, the feasibility of implementation, associated costs and other factors. This project is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.