RSI Expert-Emma Hartnett

Emma Hartnett

Practice Lead, Risk Modelling and Simulation

PhD, BSc

Joined RSI in 2006

Personal introduction

I am an internationally-recognized expert in risk assessment with experience in diverse risk domains including toxicological, microbiological, and nutritional hazards. I hold a B.Sc. in Microbiology and a Ph.D. in Statistics and Modelling Science. My Ph.D. journey introduced me to the risk assessment field with my thesis focused upon developing a quantitative risk assessment (QRA) model for human infection from campylobacter in chicken. I now specialize in the application of QRA approaches to risk issues related to biological sciences, and risk modelling broadly with a particular emphasis on simulation.

I have developed QRA and decision support tools for wide range of issues, including infectious diseases, microbial and chemical hazards in food and water, exploring the incursion of transboundary animal diseases (for example foot and mouth disease), tools supporting bioterrorism preparedness and response for both microbial and chemical attack agents, and tools to support pandemic health system needs (surge capacity).

I frequently provide expertise to World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) initiatives in microbial risk assessment, and I was selected to be part of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meetings on Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA) Roster of Experts (2018-2022). My contributions include as chair of the development of “Guidance of Microbiological Risk Assessment for Food” (posted June 2020 for public comment).
Additional notable activities include providing peer review to The National Academies, Letter Report on the Review of the Food Safety and Inspection Service Proposed Risk-Based Approach to the Application of Public-Health Attribution, and Council of Canadian Academies, Healthy Animals, Healthy Canadians: The Expert Panel on Approaches to Animal Health Risk Assessment, and an invited report to the 35th session of the European Commission for the control of Foot and Mouth Disease.

Emma Hartnett: Current Focus

Emma currently works on the development of risk-based decision-making processes and tools to support public risk assessment. Current focus includes:

  • Working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency exploring methodologies to support risk-based monitoring of contaminants in food,
  • Working with Transport Canada to develop guidelines and methodologies to support risk-based decisions related to public risks from the transportation system.
  • Working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on continuing expansions and improvements to the FDA-iRISK tool.

Dr. Hartnett also provides training in risk analysis and quantitative risk assessment having previously provided training around the world including Canada, USA, UK, Bahrain, Egypt, China, UAE.

Works and Accomplishments

Dr. Hartnett is an active member of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) and was honored with the 2016 Chauncey Starr Distinguished Young Risk Analyst Award by the Society for Risk Analysis for outstanding achievement in science or public policy relating to risk analysis.

Dr. Hartnett is widely published.

Chen, Y., S. B. Dennis, E. Hartnett, G. Paoli, R. Pouillot, T. Ruthman, and M. Wilson. 2013. 'FDA-iRISK--a comparative risk assessment system for evaluating and ranking food-hazard pairs: case studies on microbial hazards', J Food Prot, 76: 376-85.

Guo, C., R. M. Hoekstra, C. M. Schroeder, S. M. Pires, K. L. Ong, E. Hartnett, A. Naugle, J. Harman, P. Bennett, P. Cieslak, E. Scallan, B. Rose, K. G. Holt, B. Kissler, E. Mbandi, R. Roodsari, F. J. Angulo, and D. Cole. 2011. 'Application of Bayesian techniques to model the burden of human salmonellosis attributable to U.S. food commodities at the point of processing: adaptation of a Danish model', Foodborne Pathog Dis, 8: 509-16.

Williams, M. S., E. D. Ebel, N. J. Golden, M. E. Berrang, J. S. Bailey, and E. Hartnett. 2010. 'Estimating removal rates of bacteria from poultry carcasses using two whole-carcass rinse volumes', Int J Food Microbiol, 139: 140-6.

Hartnett, E., G. M. Paoli, and D. W. Schaffner. 2009. 'Modeling the public health system response to a terrorist event in the food supply', Risk Anal, 29: 1506-20.

Newsome, R., N. Tran, G. M. Paoli, L. A. Jaykus, B. Tompkin, M. Miliotis, T. Ruthman, E. Hartnett, F. F. Busta, B. Petersen, F. Shank, J. McEntire, J. Hotchkiss, M. Wagner, and D. W. Schaffner. 2009. 'Development of a risk-ranking framework to evaluate potential high-threat microorganisms, toxins, and chemicals in food', J Food Sci, 74: R39-45.

Gellynck, X., W. Messens, D. Halet, K. Grijspeerdt, E. Hartnett, and J. Viaene. 2008. 'Economics of reducing Campylobacter at different levels within the Belgian poultry meat chain', J Food Prot, 71: 479-85.

Hartnett, E., A. Adkin, M. Seaman, J. Cooper, E. Watson, H. Coburn, T. England, C. Marooney, A. Cox, and M. Wooldridge. 2007. 'A quantitative assessment of the risks from illegally imported meat contaminated with foot and mouth disease virus to Great Britain', Risk Anal, 27: 187-202.

Adkin, A., E. Hartnett, L. Jordan, D. Newell, and H. Davison. 2006. 'Use of a systematic review to assist the development of Campylobacter control strategies in broilers', J Appl Microbiol, 100: 306-15.

Wooldridge, M., E. Hartnett, A. Cox, and M. Seaman. 2006. 'Quantitative risk assessment case study: smuggled meats as disease vectors', Rev Sci Tech, 25: 105-17.


Dr. Hartnett chairing the FAO CODEX group

Additional images of Emma Hartnett at work

Emma Hartnett: Extra-curricular

Emma enjoys karate and is working towards black belt (shodan). Emma won Gold at the 2020 Douvris Virtual In-house Tournament which included participants from Canada, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Panama. With any extra time, Emma enjoys watching movies, reading, and cooking.