Purpose: This study was undertaken to assess the performance of the model.
Methods: A pilot project was conducted involving 80 meat/poultry and dairy establishments that were selected based on a nonproportional, stratified, random sampling and 65 CFIA senior inspectors with a minimum of five years of experience in food safety. Each expert categorized 10 randomly selected establishments including two controls, based on their risk to human health, using an ordinal scale that was later translated to interval variables. Performance evaluation occurred by correlating the model outputs (estimated as the annual number of disability adjusted life years) with the ranking scores given by senior inspectors to the same pilot establishments. This step also aimed at refining the model by identifying specific criteria responsible for discrepancies between both assessments.
Results: Data analysis showed the Spearman correlation coefficient to be highly positive for large meat/poultry and medium dairy size establishments (r=0.73, P=0.01 and r=0.89, P<0.001, respectively) and moderately positive for meat/poultry storage and dairy processors of moderate risk products establishments (r=0.69, P=0.01 and r=0.62, P<0.01, respectively). Few discrepancies were observed when considering the facility type, volume/type of product, and the inspection compliance results. Although experts might have considered differently the impact of specific factors when assessing establishments compared to the model, the criteria responsible for this disagreement were not identified after using the Kruskal-Wallis test.
Significance: Pilots with other food commodities are currently in progress and will further help enhance the CFIA risk assessment model that will be implemented as part of the regulatory oversight activities of the Agency.