Tip Sheet 12 - Conducting a Risk Assessment

Relevant Resources

A risk assessment is a thorough preventative procedure for identifying and quantifying potential hazards impacting food safety. 

This method defines risks and provides preventative actions for mitigating or eliminating the risks (depending on severity) within a scope of assessment. Within each SQF Food Safety Code, a risk assessment is required or implied to adequately and fully comply with many sections and elements within the Code.

Learning Objectives

  • Construct a plan to identify and manage food safety risks

Applicable Code Elements

  • 2.4.2

Key Terms


A danger or risk to product safety.

Corrective Action

An action to eliminate the cause of a detected non-conformity or other undesirable situation

Preventive Action

An action to determine and eliminate the causes of a potential non-conformity

Process Steps

  1. Define the scope of assessment.
    1. List all activities within scope of assessment.
  2. Describe activities/processes/machinery used/employees involved within the scope of assessment.
    1. Brief description of what is done at each step in activities. Include the machinery used and who is responsible for various actions and checks.
  3. Define areas of importance.
    1. Assess areas of particular importance. These areas could be an area with a high likelihood for the risk to occur. Additionally, it could be an area where the risk, if it were to occur, would be severe.
  4. Describe and characterize the identified risks at each point in the defined scope.
    1. List all potential risks throughout each activity within the scope. For each risk, describe the potential impact the risk could pose to the safety of the activity being carried out. Characterize the severity of the risk should it occur. Useful information for assessing a risk could be through, but not limited to: consumer feedback, scientific research, audit results, etc.
  5. Define preventative methods/procedures for addressing such risks.
    1. Assess and list current controls in place for the risk. Define preventative methods based on the characterization of risk severity and likelihood to occur.
  6. Define a plan should the hazard occur despite proper preventative actions in place.
    1. Define a plan for a disaster response to the risks occurring.
  7. Monitor and review documentation.
    1. Create a schedule for monitoring the controls in place to prevent the risk. Review documentation on an as needed or regular basis.



Relevant Resources



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