The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have announced the availability of a guideline “for conducting microbial risk assessment (MRA).” Intended for government risk assessors and other public stakeholders, the guidance seeks to promote transparency and consistency between the two agencies as they conduct risks assessments of food- and water-borne disease.  

According to a July 31, 2012, EPA press release, the MRA guideline for the first time “lays out an overarching approach to conducting meaningful assessments of the risks to Americans posed by pathogens in food and water.” The agency has also touted the measure as a way to improve the quality of data “collected by public health scientists charged with protecting Americans from pathogen-related risks in food and water.”  

“This guidance contributes significantly to improving the quality and consistency of microbial risk assessments, and provides greater transparency to stakeholders and other interested parties in how federal agencies approach and conduct their microbial risk assessments,” said EPA Science Advisor Glenn Paulson. “Based on the success of this project, we are seeking further opportunities to combine our technical expertise in our continuing efforts to protect the Americans’ health.”