RCMS Research Chair in Meat Safety

Development and validation of risk assessment models

Research problem: optimization of inspection systems in food processing establishments to prevent food born outbreaks and promote a better use of inspectors within the context of a risk-based approach.

1 / Development of the new risk assessment model associated with food establishments in Canada: contract with the CFIA

2 / Characterization of the risk associated with Toxoplasma in beef, pig and sheep in Quebec

PROBLEM: The data currently used in Canada to estimate exposure and impact of toxoplasmosis on human health to develop food risk assessment models are either non-existent or outdated. Therefore we must use European data which are difficult to apply given the disease epidemiology and the differences in farming practices. So that current models probably overestimate the importance of this disease.

HYPOTHESIS: Exposure to Toxoplasma in Quebec’s meat products is very low because the breeding practices affect the transmission cycle of the parasite.

OJECTIVE: Estimate the Toxoplasma gondii prevalence in animal food products (pigs, cattle, sheep) in Quebec. Assess the human exposure by meat and by-products.

METHODS: Two hundred and sixty blood samples per animal species will be randomly taken in Quebec’s slaughter facilities. ELISA technic for the detection of specific antigens will be developed for use in the 3 species and their main by-products (muscles, offal). Prevalence data will then be integrated in Monte-Carlo modeling to estimate human exposure.


Corinne Lafrance-Girard, master, supervisor Sylvain Quessy, cosupervisors Manon Racicot et Julie Arsenault


3 / Validation of risk assessment models: collaboration with the MAPAQ to validate the model IBR

OBJECTIVE: Verify the correlation between the various risk factors identified in the model and the presence of pathogenic microorganisms and indicators in the environment of food processing facilities.


Tamiru Berhanu Denka, master, supervisor Sylvain Quessy, cosupervisor Julie Arsenault