Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 1813–1831

Expert judgment based multi-criteria decision model to address uncertainties in risk assessment of nanotechnology-enabled food products

  • Villie Flari
  • Qasim Chaudhry
  • Rabin Neslo
  • Roger Cooke
Perspectives

DOI: 10.1007/s11051-011-0335-x

Cite this article as:
Flari, V., Chaudhry, Q., Neslo, R. et al. J Nanopart Res (2011) 13: 1813. doi:10.1007/s11051-011-0335-x

Abstract

Currently, risk assessment of nanotechnology-enabled food products is considered difficult due to the large number of uncertainties involved. We developed an approach which could address some of the main uncertainties through the use of expert judgment. Our approach employs a multi-criteria decision model, based on probabilistic inversion that enables capturing experts’ preferences in regard to safety of nanotechnology-enabled food products, and identifying their opinions in regard to the significance of key criteria that are important in determining the safety of such products. An advantage of these sample-based techniques is that they provide out-of-sample validation and therefore a robust scientific basis. This validation in turn adds predictive power to the model developed. We achieved out-of-sample validation in two ways: (1) a portion of the expert preference data was excluded from the model’s fitting and was then predicted by the model fitted on the remaining rankings and (2) a (partially) different set of experts generated new scenarios, using the same criteria employed in the model, and ranked them; their ranks were compared with ranks predicted by the model. The degree of validation in each method was less than perfect but reasonably substantial. The validated model we applied captured and modelled experts’ preferences regarding safety of hypothetical nanotechnology-enabled food products. It appears therefore that such an approach can provide a promising route to explore further for assessing the risk of nanotechnology-enabled food products.

Keywords

Risk assessmentExpert judgmentMulti-criteria decision modelsNanotechnology food productsUncertaintyGovernance

Supplementary material

11051_2011_335_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (269 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 268 kb)

Copyright information

© Crown Copyright  2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Villie Flari
    • 1
  • Qasim Chaudhry
    • 1
  • Rabin Neslo
    • 2
  • Roger Cooke
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.The Food and Environment Research AgencyYorkUK
  2. 2.Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer ScienceDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Resources for the futureWashingtonUSA