The art of risk management during food innovation

By Angela Tellez-Lance, PhD,
Research lead and senior food safety and risk analyst
CFWI Innovation Centre – Research & Innovation

The Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre uses a holistic approach to food innovation, where the product development team and the food safety experts work in parallel to develop successful, novel and safe products. We use food safety risk analysis tools to help manufacturers protect their brand, build consumer trust and loyalty.

Assessing the food safety risk of the proposed formulation and processing steps as the product is developed enables us to design the best risk management options to reduce risk without compromising sensory attributes, optimize costs and comply with regulations.

Over the years, we have worked on risk assessments for new and existing products, validation studies of process and formulations, shelf-life extension studies, and the design of food safety strategies to solve regulatory issues.

Did You Know?

~ The Safety Foods for Canadian Regulations applies to food (including ingredients) that is imported, exported, or inter-provincially traded for commercialization.

~ Bacteria such as Listeria and viruses like hepatitis survive in frozen foods. Listeria and hepatitis are biological hazards to food safety.

~ Food safety risk assessment has four steps: hazard identification, hazard characterization, exposure assessment, and risk characterization. The risk assessment is carried out to know the level of risk associated with a particular hazard.

~ Validation is required to determine if a control measure (for example, pasteurization at a set time and temperature) can reduce the risk associated with a particular hazard (for example, Listeria). Validation studies can be done using predictive modelling tools, scientific studies, and challenge studies.

~ Verification is conducted to know if a preventive control is working efficiently. For example, the metal detector is verified during production at a set frequency to ensure the equipment is working as expected.


As part of the full suite of services to support industry innovation and commercialization, the CFWI Innovation Centre provides essential food and beverage safety and regulatory assistance. This includes guiding industry partners through applicable food and safety standards, developing HACCP/CFSI plans and food safety documentation. Find out more on the website.