Food Standards Australia New Zealand Logo
Food Standards Australia New Zealand Logo

Risk assessment

(July 2014)
Risk assessment involves the process of identifying, analysing and characterising a food-related health risk and is one component of the FSANZ risk analysis framework, the other two being risk management and risk communication.

Risk assessments estimate the likelihood and severity of an adverse health effect occurring from exposure to a hazard. A risk assessment can be used to examine substances deliberately added to food (e.g. food additives, processing aids, agricultural or veterinary chemicals) and substances that occur inadvertently in food (e.g. environmental contaminants, naturally-occurring toxins or pathogenic microorganisms), as well as the impact of new technologies.
In this context, risk is a function of both the hazard and the level of exposure to that hazard. A food risk assessment therefore consists of an assessment of the hazard and an assessment of exposure which together enable characterisation of the risk. 
It is important that the outputs of the risk assessment provide information in a way that facilitates risk management decision-making. The results of the risk assessment are only one of a number of considerations informing risk management, others being public health policy guidance, consumer behaviours and economic and regulatory inputs.
Read more about FSANZ’s risk assessment process in the Risk Analysis in Food Regulation publication.

Risk assessment outputs

Outputs of our risk assessments can be found in the assessment reports we produce in response to an application or proposal to change the Code, as well as in the many technical reports we have published.

External review of our risk assessment processes

In 2011 an external peer review of our risk assessment processes was undertaken to evaluate the current rigour of our risk assessment practices and procedures across the scientific disciplines at a high level, and to benchmark these against international best practice.
See the external peer review of FSANZ risk assessment practices and procedures, including details of findings and recommendations. 

More information



Return to top