Scope of the analysis

Scope of the analysis

Chocolate bar

Accurately and precisely defining the scope of the study is a key element in getting a successful outcome to the analysis.

If the scope is too vague when set, the investigator(s) will be unable to evaluate if the brief has been fulfilled.

Similarly, if the scope is too specific, key exclusions could be made which may prevent a full and extensive study being carried out.

This can sometimes be done when assumptions are made at the outset of the analysis.

Firstly identify and agree with those involved in the investigation a full description of the incident.

Types of incidents that would use RCA

  • Food poisoning outbreaks
  • Food complaints
  • Premises complaints
  • Practices complaints
  • Training issues
  • Ownership issues: This could include who owns the business, where it is registered (if mobile), where is the owner, who is in charge in absence of the owner.


Example from Industry / Manufacturing - Scenario 1

Satisfactory scope: An operator should have weighed out ingredient A on line 2. However they used ingredient B, leading to rejection of product XYZ

Scope not specific: Rejection of product XYZ

Scope overly specific, or assumptions made: Weighing inaccuracies on line 2 due to poor training

Example from Enforcement officers - Scenario 2

Satisfactory scope: Bars of chocolate containing hazelnuts have been incorrectly packaged in “nut-free” plain chocolate wrappers resulting in a possible health risk to anyone with an allergy or intolerance to almond and other nuts.

Scope not specific: Wrong labelling of chocolate bars.

Scope overly specific, or assumptions made: Incorrect procedures in place for the management of labels and packaging on chocolate packing line 2, leading to allergen cross contamination.