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Food Safety

The Costs of Foodborne Illness
Foodborne illness costs the U.S. economy billions of dollars each year in lost productivity, hospitalization, long-term disability and even death as these statistics reveal:

  • USDA's Economic Research Service estimates that medical costs and losses in productivity resulting from seven major foodborne pathogens in 1993 ranged from $5.6 billion to $9.4 billion. Of these costs, $2.3 billion to $4.3 billion represent medical costs, and $3.3 billion to $5.1 billion were the productivity losses.
  • Of the seven pathogens analyzed by USDA, Salmonella and Toxoplasma gondii are the two most costly, largely because of the high number of Salmonella cases annually and because of the severity of the chronic illness caused by Toxoplasma gondii. Salmonellosis infections in 1993 were responsible for an estimated $600 million to $3.5 billion in medical costs and lost productivity. At the same time, toxoplasmosis costs an estimated $2.7 billion annually.
If you have questions or concerns about food safety, contact:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Meat and Poultry Hotline at (800) 535-4555 or (202) 720-3333 (Washington, DC area). The TTY number for the hearing impaired is (800) 256-7072.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Information Line at (888) SAFE FOOD.

Reprinted with permission from
The Fight BAC! Web site at: www.fightbac.org


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