Contaminated Food Costs U.S. More Than $14 Billion a Year

Friday, April 29, 2011
Salmonella (photo: National Institutes of Health)
Food-borne illnesses are costing the United States $14 billion a year in terms of medical care, lost days at work, long-term chronic health problems or deaths, according to a report by the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida.
More than 90% of this cost is caused by just five pathogens: Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, Toxoplasma gondii and norovirus.
Salmonella alone produces $3 billion in economic expenses. Poultry products contaminated by Camplylobacter bacteria sicken more than 600,000 Americans a year. Pregnant women and developing fetuses face serious risks from four of the combinations: Listeria in deli meats and soft cheeses, and Toxoplasma in pork and beef.
About one in six Americans gets sick every year from contaminated food. Most endure mild symptoms and recover on their own, but more than 100,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Ranking the Risks (Emerging Pathogens Institute)
Study Ranks Food Pathogens by Cost to Society (by Lyndsey Layton, Washington Post)
Ranking the Risks: The 10 Pathogen-Food Combinations with the Greatest Burden on Public Health (by Michael B. Batz, Sandra Hoffman and J. Glenn Morris Jr. Emerging Pathogens Institute) (pdf)


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