Potential for Meta-Analysis in the Realm of Preharvest Food Safety
Meta-analysis, the statistical combination of results from multiple studies, can be used to summarize all of the available research on an intervention, etiology, descriptive, or diagnostic test accuracy question. Meta-analysis should be conducted as a component of a systematic review, to increase transparency in the selection of studies and to incorporate an evaluation of the risk of bias in the individual studies included in the meta-analysis. The process of meta-analysis may include a forest plot to graphically display the study results and the calculation of a weighted average summary effect size. Heterogeneity (differences in the effect size between studies) can be evaluated using formal statistics and the reasons for heterogeneity can be explored using sub-group analysis or meta-regression. Thus, meta-analysis may be a useful methodology for preharvest food safety research to aid in policy or clinical decision-making or to provide input to quantitative risk assessment or other models.
This article is published as Sargeant JM, O'Connor AM. Potential for Meta-Analysis in the Realm of Preharvest Food Safety. Microbiol Spectr. 2016;4(5).(doi):10.1128/microbiolspec.PFS-0004-2014. Posted with permission.