The use of multi-criteria decision analysis in food safety risk-benefit assessment
Ruzante, J. M., Grieger, K. D., Lambertini, E., & Kowalcyk, B. (2017). The use of multi-criteria decision analysis in food safety risk-benefit assessment. Food Protection Trends, March/April, 132-139. Advance online publication.
Complex decisions call for a wide set of decision-support tools. Risk-benefit assessment (RBAs) is an emerging topic in the area of food safety as decision makers begin to realize that a unilateral focus on risks might be insufficient to make effective decisions in real-world situations. However, existing RBA approaches focus only on the adverse or beneficial health impacts of changes in policies and interventions and lack a more comprehensive and pragmatic evaluation of other criteria, beyond public health, that might influence the risk manager’s decision. Multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) methods are a promising alternative for handling complex decisions that need to account for multiple, diverse, and potentially conflicting criteria. In the past decade, MCDA has been used to balance the risks and benefits associated with drugs and medical devices, as well as with certain environmental decisions, but it has not yet been used in the area of food safety. Therefore, this paper presents an MCDA approach, illustrated by a hypothetical case study, that could be used to assess the risk and benefits of selected food safety interventions.