Food safety risk analysis and health technology assessment (HTA) are two different paradigms sharing multiple common features. Decision makers in both fields have the responsibility to promote the health of society deciding on intervention opportunities based on disease burden, intervention feasibility, eff ectiveness and cost, equity and ethical considerations. The evolution of HTA in the last two decades has resulted in the establishment and widespread use of quantitative tools to support and justify evidence-based decisions. In contrast, decision making in the food safety domain is still a qualitative process rendering ad hoc weights to all aspects considered. This review evaluates whether HTA methodology is suitable for quantitative decision support in food safety risk analysis. We conclude that cost-utility analysis (CUA) could better serve the priority settings in food safety risk management than the currently (rarely) applied cost-benefi t analysis (CBA), considering either broad resource allocation or specific safety measure decisions. Development of multi-criteria decision analysis tools could help the introduction of consistent and explicit weighting among cost and health impacts, equity and all other relevant aspects. Cost-minimisation and cost-effectiveness analyses would be relevant for ‘threshold’ and ‘as low as reasonably achievable’ approaches to single food safety risk assessments, respectively. Assuming a future widespread use of HTA methodology in the food safety paradigm, a vision of integrated healthcare, food safety and nutritional policy emerges, with the re-evaluation of budgets and resources of these large systems in a rational and socially acceptable way.


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