Assessing the costs versus the effectiveness of dioxin monitoring in bulk milk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


Dioxins are environmental pollutants present in the agri-food chains. The negative consequences associated with their presence in food are not only related to human health but also to the food businesses operators embedded in the food chains. Food and feed dioxin-monitoring programs aiming to detect, control and reduce the presence of dioxins in food chains have been implemented. However, to date, the costs and effectiveness of such programs have not been assessed. This study aims to quantify the costs and effectiveness of bulk milk dioxin monitoring to optimize the sampling and pooling strategies for a selected set of contamination scenarios. Two different optimization models were built using a linear programming methodology. The first model aims to minimize the monitoring costs subject to a minimum required effectiveness, while the second model aims to maximize the effectiveness of monitoring for a given monitoring budget. This study shows that a higher level of effectiveness is possible but at higher costs. Monitoring with 95% effectiveness aiming to detect a single contaminated farm with a tank milk concentration equal to the EC legal action level (i.e. 2 pg TEQ/g fat) would cost €2.6 million per month. A large reduction in monitoring costs (at the same level of effectiveness) is possible at intermediate incident sizes (i.e. 73% reduction when two farms are contaminated at 3 pg TEQ/g fat), which is close to the smallest incident aimed to be detected. Both models enable the analysis of the costs and the effectiveness of bulk milk dioxin monitoring programs, offering quantitative support to risk managers of the food industry and the food safety authority. Additionally, this study proves that the effectiveness of monitoring depends not only on the performance of the detection tests but also on the number of samples collected.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of Abstracts of the 13th International Symposium on Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventISVEE13 - Maastricht, Netherlands
Duration: 20 Aug 201224 Aug 2012




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