To assess the risk of C. perfringens toxico-infections related to the consumption of Cornish pasties in the United Kingdom, a stochastic risk assessment model was created. Exposure to the pathogen was modelled as the result of contamination of different ingredients (i.e. beef and pepper), application of different cooling scenarios at room temperature and considering pasties of a number of common sizes. The model predicted a mean of 213 cases of gastroenteritis per million people in the UK per year (95% CI: 128–317), which might explain a significant proportion of annual C. perfringens toxico-infections according to epidemiological data. Major factors influencing this estimate and possible targets for interventions were the time to consumption and the concentration of the pathogen in contaminated ingredients, the impact of which in reducing the risk was tested in different intervention scenarios. The results of the model together with a number of possible risk mitigation measures are used as a basis to discuss the potential of setting of risk-based metrics as a risk management option in the context of food safety decision-making.
- Appropriate level of protection
- Food safety objective
- Spore-forming pathogen