1 National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark2 Division of Epidemiology and Microbial Genomics, National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark
Abstract A variety of approaches to attribute foodborne diseases to specific sources are available, including hazard occurrence analysis, epidemiological methods, intervention studies, and expert elicitations. The usefulness of each method to attribute disease caused by a foodborne hazard depends on the public health question being addressed, on the data requirements, on advantages and limitations of the method, and on the data availability of the country or region in question. Previous articles have described available methods for source attribution, but have focused only on foodborne microbiological hazards. These articles have described strengths and weaknesses of each method, but no guidance on how to choose the most appropriate tool to address different public health questions has thus far been provided. We reviewed available source attribution methods; assessed their applicability to attribute illness caused by enteric, parasitic, and chemical foodborne hazards to the responsible sources; and renamed some of the approaches. The main objective was to make recommendations on the most appropriate method(s) to attribute human disease caused by different foodborne hazards. We concluded that the proportion of disease that can be attributed to specific foods items or transmission routes may be estimated for the majority of the evaluated hazards by applying one or more of the source attribution methods assessed. It was also recognized that the use of source attribution methods may be limited to specific countries, reflecting the data availability.
Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, 2013, Vol 10, Issue 3, p. 206-213