Modeling the Effects of Food Handling Practices on the Incidence of Foodborne Illness
Kendall, D., Ritzert, A., Viator, C. L., Karns, S. A., & Durocher, B. L. (2003, August). Modeling the Effects of Food Handling Practices on the Incidence of Foodborne Illness. Presented at International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.
Each year millions of cases of foodborne illness occur in the United States. Preceding most cases of foodborne illness is contamination of food by pathogens and failure of retail food establishments or households to destroy or sufficiently control pathogens before consumption. This paper presents results of a research project sponsored by the Food and Drug Administration to develop a quantitative model for estimating the effects of food handling practices and other contributing factors on the incidence of foodborne illness. Working collaboratively with FDA, RTI International developed the Food Handling Practices Model (FHPM) to provide a quantitative method for estimating the benefits of changes in food handling practices. The model incorporates the inherent uncertainty of key relationships involved by using stochastic simulation methods. Because unsafe food handling practices and other contributing factors occur in households, retail food establishments, and institutional establishments, the FHPM explicitly models all three venues. The FHPM operates by use of Microsoft Excel™ combined with Microsoft Access™ and the add-in application software @Risk™. A user-friendly interface allows users who are unfamiliar with Excel, Access, or @Risk to use the model effectively and efficiently. Combining data from experimental research, prevalence studies, outbreak studies, and environmental health surveys, the FHPM also provides a new approach for estimating annual cases of foodborne illness that may be attributed to the retail channel versus the household channel. We anticipate that the new model will be useful for guiding additional primary research to measure the incidence of contributing factors and the antecedents to foodborne illness.