Phytosanitary risk framework

Our risk framework provides the basis to advance the scientific methods for phytosanitary risk management and enables quantitative analysis of risk reduction

The foundation for our phytosanitary risk tools is a risk framework, first published in 2020 in the journal, Crop Protection.

For a quick overview of the risk framework, watch our animation,

The risk framework was developed to enable the efficacy of phytosanitary systems approaches for fresh produce to be more rigorously assessed. The framework was updated in 2022 to extend its application to phytosanitary risk management for any traded commodity.

Various methods have been developed since the 1990s to validate whether proposed combinations of phytosanitary measures would reduce biosecurity risks to acceptable levels. Previous methods have focussed on the point in the production system where measures were applied, drawing on established food safety risk management methods (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points or HACCP).

By focussing on the control point, however, several measures are grouped together at one point that may work in different ways to reduce biosecurity risks – so the risk reducing power of each measure is not clear. This makes it difficult to quantify the efficacy of the combined measures.

Our framework addresses this by also classifying measures based on how they contribute to reducing biosecurity risks.

A phytosanitary risk reduction framework

The risk framework extends current methods by classifying measures according to both where they may be applied within the production system or supply chain, and how they reduce risk. This is important as different measures applied within one consignment stage can reduce risk in different ways. This focus on risk reduction provides a stronger basis for quantifying the effectiveness of individual measures and combinations of measures.

Our risk framework is derived from extensive literature reviews. Our most recent global review located any literature – journal papers, books, public reports, ISPMs, publicly available protocols – that identify measures to manage the risk of plant pests or pathogens in traded commodities, including for fruit, vegetables, cut flowers, grains, timber and soil, as well as transport vectors such as wood packaging, container ships or machinery.

The analysis showed that phytosanitary measures currently used around the world reduce risk in one of four ways. We have called these risk reduction objectives.

The four risk reduction objectives are:

  • Minimise exposure to pests when the commodity is vulnerable
  • Minimise vulnerability of the commodity to infestation
  • Reduce infestation rates
  • Reduce establishment risk in the destination market

Our framework defines three ‘consignment stages’ where phytosanitary measures may be applied:

  • Production
  • Post-production
  • Post-border

These are brought together in a matrix, to show where risk reduction measures that address different objectives can be implemented in the production process or supply chain. This approach provides a more rigorous framework for qualitative and quantitative risk modelling to validate how effectively phytosanitary measures reduce biosecurity risks – either individually or in combination. The risk framework also enables us to organise each of the phytosanitary measures identified through our literature review into a Menu of Measures.

Phytosanitary risk reduction framework
Phytosanitary risk framework
Phytosanitary risk framework

Published articles about the risk framework

Our first paper, published in 2020 in the journal, Crop Protection, explains the proposed risk framework and presents the results of a review of 60 publicly available systems approach protocols used for horticulture trade. The phytosanitary measures identified in the reviewed protocols are categorised against a risk reduction objective and production stages using the framework. The analysis also identifies where there is further room for improvement in the development of systems approaches.

In 2022, the risk framework was refined to reflect a wider literature review which considered phytosanitary measures for all traded commodities as well as transport vectors. This paper, published in the journal, Biological Invasions, further develops the menu of phytosanitary measures, including an assessment of the supporting science for demonstrating the effectiveness of measures.

Also published in 2020, was a follow-on paper in Crop Protection for the risk framework, to emphasise the importance of distinguishing between efficacy assessment and implementation arrangements when developing systems approaches.