The Key Events Dose-Response Framework: Its Potential for Application to Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms

Buchanan RL, Havelaar AH, Smith MA, Whiting RC, Julien E

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2009;49(8):718-728

The Key Events Dose-Response Framework (KEDRF) is an analytical approach that facilitates the use of currently available data to gain insight regarding dose-response relationships. The use of the KEDRF also helps identify critical knowledge gaps that once filled, will reduce reliance on assumptions. The present study considers how the KEDRF might be applied to pathogenic microorganisms, using fetal listeriosis resulting from maternal ingestion of food contaminated with L. monocytogenes as an initial example. Major biological events along the pathway between food ingestion and the endpoint of concern are systematically considered with regard to dose (i.e., number of organisms), pathogen factors (e.g., virulence), and protective host mechanisms (e.g., immune response or other homeostatic mechanisms). It is concluded that the KEDRF provides a useful structure for systematically evaluating the complex array of host and pathogen factors that influence the dose-response relationship. In particular, the KEDRF supports efforts to specify and quantify the sources of variability, a prerequisite to strengthening the scientific basis for food safety decision making.

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