Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Foodborne illness costs US $152 billion annually, landmark report estimates

Date:
March 3, 2010
Source:
Pew Health Group
Summary:
A new study estimates the total economic impact of foodborne illness across the U.S. to be a combined $152 billion annually.

A new study by a former U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) economist estimates the total economic impact of foodborne illness across the nation to be a combined $152 billion annually.

The Produce Safety Project, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts at Georgetown University, published the report, Health-Related Costs from Foodborne Illness in the United States. In addition, an interactive online map that graphically represents this cost information for every state in the nation is now available.

The report ranks states according to their total costs related to foodborne illness and cost per case for an individual, which is $1,850 on average nationwide. The ten states with the highest costs per case are: Hawaii, Florida, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, the District of Columbia, Mississippi, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 76 million new cases of food-related illness -- resulting in 5,000 deaths and 325,000 hospitalizations -- occur in the United States each year. Continuing outbreaks every year show that this is not a problem that is going away.

"The costs associated with foodborne illness are substantial," says report author Robert L. Scharff, a former FDA economist who is now an assistant professor in the Department of Consumer Sciences at The Ohio State University. "This study puts the problem of foodborne illness in its proper perspective and should help facilitate reasonable action designed to mitigate this problem."

The release of the report comes as the U.S. Senate may soon vote on comprehensive food-safety legislation. The U.S. House of Representatives passed its food-safety bill (H.R. 2749) last July, and just before Thanksgiving, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions unanimously approved the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510).

"This report makes it clear that the gaps in our food-safety system are causing significant health and economic impacts," says Erik Olson, director of food and consumer product safety with the Pew Health Group. "Especially in challenging economic times we cannot afford to waste billions of dollars fighting preventable diseases after it is too late. The Senate needs to act on this now and pass legislation that will improve protections for public health."

"The data and analysis released today should show our lawmakers that they need to send strong food-safety legislation to the president's desk as soon as possible," says Marilu Wilson of Bedford, New Hampshire, whose son suffered from a Salmonella infection. "The new legislation may not help my family with the unfortunate events that we have experienced, but it could save lives and spare others from suffering what Ryan has endured."

Despite the substantial magnitude of this problem, the aggregate economic cost of health losses associated with foodborne illnesses has not been examined comprehensively in this way before.

There are a number of ways to estimate the economic impact of foodborne illness. This report uses an FDA cost-estimate approach: health-related costs are the sum of medical costs (physician services, pharmaceuticals, and hospital costs) and losses to quality of life (lost life expectancy, pain and suffering, and functional disability). The report also estimates the cost of illnesses associated specifically with produce, which is linked to the largest number of outbreaks involving FDA-regulated foods. For example, E. coli O157:H7 cases in produce accounted for 39 percent of outbreaks and 54 percent of illnesses. Using CDC data, the report estimates that foodborne illness costs related to produce alone are almost $39 billion per year in the U.S.

While the Make Our Food Safe coalition does not necessarily endorse any single method to develop such estimates, coalition members agree that this study highlights the magnitude of the problem and the need for action to reduce foodborne disease. Furthermore, the coalition agrees that steps to reduce or eliminate contaminated food are sometimes pressing public-health measures that must be taken even when, due to data gaps, a comprehensive monetized economic analysis is not possible.

Major public health, consumer and food safety groups have formed the Make Our Food Safe coalition, which includes the American Public Health Association, Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention, Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Food & Water Watch, National Consumers League, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Safe Tables Our Priority, and Trust for America's Health.

To obtain a copy of the report, visit www.MakeOurFoodSafe.org. The interactive online map is available at www.MakeOurFoodSafe.org/cost_map.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pew Health Group. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Pew Health Group. "Foodborne illness costs US $152 billion annually, landmark report estimates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100303081834.htm>.
Pew Health Group. (2010, March 3). Foodborne illness costs US $152 billion annually, landmark report estimates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100303081834.htm
Pew Health Group. "Foodborne illness costs US $152 billion annually, landmark report estimates." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100303081834.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins