A risk framework for designing systems approaches

Our risk reduction framework builds on earlier methods for the development of systems approaches and supports more rigorous modelling of risk outcomes

The foundation for strengthening the rigour of phytosanitary systems approaches is a risk framework methodology, published in 2020 in the journal, Crop Protection. A brief overview of the framework is presented here as well as a link to the full paper.

Systems approaches use a combination of phytosanitary measures to manage biosecurity risks. Various methods have been developed since the 1990s to validate the outcome of combined measures. Previous methodologies have focussed on the point in the production system where these measures were applied, drawing from established food safety risk management procedures (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 act to reduce biosecurity risk in different ways – so the risk reducing power of each measure is not clear. This makes it difficult to quantify the risk outcome of the combined measures. To address this, measures can also be classified based on how they contribute to reducing biosecurity risks.

A risk reduction framework for systems approaches

The risk reduction framework extends systems approaches methods by classifying measures according to both where they can be applied within the production system or supply chain, and how they reduce risk. This is important as different measures applied within one production stage can reduce risk in different ways. This focus on risk reduction provides a mechanism for assessing the risk outcomes of measures both individually and in combination.

The risk framework was derived from an analysis of 60 publicly available systems approach-based protocols. The analysis showed that phytosanitary measures currently in use reduce risk in one of four ways – which we have called ‘risk reduction objectives’.

The framework, therefore, identifies the four risk reduction objectives:

  • Minimise exposure to pests/pathogens when the fruit are vulnerable
  • Minimise the vulnerability of the host plant to being infested/infected
  • Reduce the rate of infestation/infection (or the potential impact of infestation)
  • Reduce establishment risk if produce did arrive in the destination market infested with live pests

And three production stages:

  • Pre-harvest – in-field or production site
  • Harvest through to phytosanitary certification – harvest, transport to packing facility, grading, packing, inspection/assessment, certification
  • Post-certification – from despatch from the farm or wholesaler along the cool chain to the destination market

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 framework provides a more rigorous basis for qualitative and quantitative risk modelling to validate the risk reducing outcome of a systems approach protocol.

Risk reduction framework for phytosanitary systems approaches
Risk reduction framework for phytosanitary systems approaches

Risk reduction framework for phytosanitary systems approaches

Read the full paper here

Our paper explains the proposed risk framework and presents the results of the review of 60 publicly available systems approach protocols used for horticulture trade. The phytosanitary measures identified in the reviewed protocols could be 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.

Download the full paper

A risk framework for using systems approaches to manage horticultural biosecurity risks for market access

Citation information

van Klinken, R., Fiedler, K., Kingham, L., Collins, K., Barbour, D., 2020. A risk framework for using systems approaches to manage horticultural biosecurity risks for market access. J. Crop Protection. 129, pp1-12

A follow-on paper, published in 2021, discusses the importance of making a distinction between efficacy assessment and implementation arrangements when developing systems approaches:

The importance of distinguishing between demonstrating the efficacy and implementation of phytosanitary systems approaches