A stepwise and interactive identification procedure for foodborne microbial hazards has been developed in which use is made of several levels of detail ranging from rough hazard identification to comprehensive hazard identification. This approach allows one to tackle the most obvious hazards first, before focusing on less obvious hazards. The interactive character of the identification procedure is based on the use of several knowledge sources. Combination of knowledge sources, expressed in the use of knowledge rules, supports the user in systematically selecting hazards which may pose a real risk to the consumer. Due to the structured method and the clear definitions of the knowledge rules, the procedure is transparent and may be changed if necessary. The hazard identification procedure has been implemented as a computer program, resulting in a decision-supporting identification system. It provides a way to efficiently assess those hazards which may cause harm if not brought under control during processing. The procedure forms a basis for quantitative risk assessments.