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Pol. J. Food Nutr. Sci. 2007;57(Special issue 4B):365–370
Microbiological risk assessment concerns gathering and processing lots of information about product, production, and factors which have influence on microbiological quality. Moreover, food products are distinguished in terms of supporting growth, survival or inactivation of microorganisms. This information can involve consumers and their susceptibility to infections. Databases which include information about microorganisms, their interaction with food product, characteristics of processes and consumers are very important at this stage. They provide basis to modeling and to predict behaviour of microorganisms as a response to environmental factors. There are qualitative and quantitative tools for microbiological risk assessment. Quantitative tools give the numerical prediction of growth of microorganisms, whereas qualitative tools deal with words rather than numbers. Predictive microbiology is a main tool for quantitative microbiological risk assessment. Development of predictive models to describe growth, survival and inactivation of microorganisms in food has been the most active area in food microbiology within the last 20 years. Predictive microbiology involves the development of mathematical models to describe changes of microbial population in food. It relies upon the premise, that the responses of microorganisms to environmental factors are reproducible. By characterizing environments in terms of those factors that most affect microbial growth and survival, it is possible from past observations to predict the responses of microorganisms in other, similar environments. Predictive microbiology models are important tools to improve food safety. They provide scientific basis to HACCP system, and they are used in quantitative microbiological risk assessment. Models which define growth boundaries of microorganisms help to identify potential microbiological hazard in food product. Predictive models play important role in assessing the exposure of consumers for foodborne pathogens present in food in time of consumption. Predictive models are useful for teaching and consulting purposes. Wide usage of predictive models in industry, research and teaching depends on availability of software application, which enables for many users to reach information from mathematical models in a quick and convenient way. The available software application that predict the growth of microorganisms are: Pathogen Modeling Program, Growth Predictor, Sym’previus, Seafood Spoilage Predictor.