Postdoctoral Position in Quantitative Microbiological Risk Assessment: France

INRA Secalim seeks to fill a Postdoctoral Position in Quantitative Microbiological Risk Assessment.

The postdoctoral researcher will be in charge of the Meat’Integrate project. The aim of the project is to evaluate, improve (additional functionalities) and integrate available models of QMRA (Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment) of meat in an innovative quantitative risk ranking tool which will be applied to meat in France.

France is one of the major producers of meat in Europe but is also the country with the largest number of reported foodborne outbreaks due to pathogenic bacteria in meat. In recent years, a modern risk-based food safety management system has emerged to prevent foodborne illness based on the prevention of public health risks rather than end product testing and control. In this context QMRA has gained particular attention to support the decision making process in food safety.

For meat, several QMRAs have been performed for different pathogenic bacteria, however they have been either very specific to a food safety situation (making them inflexible to measure risk for other situations), incomplete in terms of modelling approach, or not covering the entire farm-to-fork continuum. Moreover, rarely, have they expressed results in a metric enabling comparison between risks associated with various meat/pathogen pairings. In addition, QMRAs can be complex for risk-decision makers: easy-to-use tools embedding QMRA are necessary. Thus, an integrated tool which addresses these different facets is required.

In this context, the project will provide a new innovative user friendly tool capable of making risk comparisons for different meat/pathogen combinations. This will aid policy makers to make informed decisions regarding risk reduction measures along the farm-to-fork-to-human continuum and thereby helping to reduce foodborne outbreaks and protecting human health, while maintaining international reputation as a producer of safe meat products and also thereby protecting a vital national industry.

Meat’Integrate will build an accessible and easy-to-use tool for researchers, food safety agencies and industrials to perform risk ranking of potential microbial contamination of meat. More broadly in food QMRA, it is intended to push forward modelling limits toward a more comprehensive evaluation using cutting-edge probabilistic techniques. Finally, the application of the tool for meat in France will enable identification of key steps influencing human risk and thus to suggest risk reduction measures at the national scale.

The candidate

  • He/she will be able to collaborate through strong interaction with both teams involved in the project (INRA and UCD) and will do three months of mobility at the UCD (costs will be covered).
  • He/she must have completed a PhD degree in the field of microbiology and quantitative risk assessment.
  • A background in food safety and applied statistics is required as well as basic knowledge in microbiology.
  • English language skills would be an advantage. French speaking is not required if the candidate speaks English.
  • We are looking for a post-doctoral researcher highly motivated, dynamic, curious and able to put things into perspective regarding public health issues.
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