University Of Tasmania

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A semi-quantitative seafood safety risk assessment

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 13:23 authored by John Sumner, Thomas RossThomas Ross
As part of a semi-quantitative risk assessment of 10 seafood hazard/product combinations, a risk assessment tool was used to generate a Risk Ranking. The tool is in a spreadsheet software format and provides a risk estimate, which is scaled between 0 and 100, where 0 represents no risk and 100 represents all meals containing a lethal dose of the hazard. A full description of the tool is contained in Ross and Sumner (this issue). Based on their ranking, seafoods in Australia fell into three risk categories. Hazard/product pairs with ranking <32 included mercury poisoning (Relative Risk=24), Clostridium botulinum in canned fish (RR=25), or in vacuum-packed cold-smoked fish (RR=28), parasites in sushi/sashimi (RR=31), viruses in shellfish from uncontaminated waters (RR=31), enteric bacteria in imported cooked shrimp (RR=31) and algal biotoxins from controlled waters (RR=31). It is noted that there have been no documented cases of food-borne illness from any of the above hazard/product pairings in Australia. Those with rankings 32-48 included Vibrio parahaemolyticus in cooked prawns (RR=37), V. cholerae in cooked prawns (RR=37), Listeria monocytogenes in cold-smoked seafoods (RR=39), scombrotoxicosis (RR=40), V. vulnificus in oysters (RR=41), ciguatera in the general Australian population (RR=45), L. monocytogenes in susceptible (RR=45) and extremely susceptible populations (RR=47) and enteric bacteria in imported cooked shrimp eaten by vulnerable consumers (RR=48). Almost all the hazard/product pairs in this category have caused the outbreaks of food poisoning in Australasia. Those hazard/product pairs with rankings >48 included ciguatera from recreational fishing in susceptible areas (RR=60), viruses in shellfish from contaminated waters (RR=67) and algal biotoxins from uncontrolled waters in an algal event (RR=72). There have been significant (>100 cases) food poisoning incidents involving viruses and biotoxins in shellfish, while ciguatera poisoning is prevalent among coastal communities in Australia's warmer waters. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.


Publication title

International Journal of Food Microbiology










Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Elsevier Science BV

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Socio-economic Objectives

Food safety

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