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A GIS-based approach in support of an assessment of food safety risks.

Hashemi Beni, L., Villeneuve, S., LeBlanc, D.I., and Delaquis, P.J. (2011). "A GIS-based approach in support of an assessment of food safety risks.", Transactions in GIS, 15(Suppl. 1), pp. 95-108. doi : 10.1111/j.1467-9671.2011.01264.x  Access to full text


A Geographical Information System (GIS)-based approach was developed for the identification of vulnerabilities and the measurement of risks associated with contamination of food systems with biological agents. In this research work, a tight integration of ArcGIS with the Arena simulation tool has been implemented. Arena was used to simulate and track contamination in a food distribution network and transmit the time dependent information to GIS. ArcGIS was employed to provide the primary user interface, process network data, and visualize the results. In addition, the GIS, through its powerful capabilities to process spatial data, could allow decision- makers to quickly determine the potential impact of a contamination event, at any stage, as a function of both time and geography. Two contamination scenarios along the farm-to-fork chain were examined to show the geographic zone and the proportion of the population affected by the contamination. A constraint Voronoi data structure was developed to define influence zones (these were color coded according to a dynamic risk index), to identify those areas that are at greatest immediate risk as time progresses, and to estimate the population affected by these contamination events. This approach thus appears to have general application to many GIS-based risk assessment problems.

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