The cost of foodborne illness
The USDA publishes estimates of how much foodborne illness costs Americans. It does this for 15 pathogens, one at a time:
The Cost Estimates of Foodborne Illnesses data product provides detailed data about the costs of major foodborne illnesses in the United States, updating and extending previous ERS research. This data set includes the following:
- Detailed identification of specific disease outcomes for foodborne infections caused by 15 major pathogens in the United States
- Associated outpatient and inpatient expenditures on medical care
- Associated lost wages
- Estimates of individuals’ willingness to pay to reduce mortality resulting from these foodborne illnesses acquired in the United States.
If you click on the links below, you get an Excel spreadsheet.
I clicked on Salmonella (non-typhoidal); the estimate for its costs in 2018 is basically $4 billion ($4, 142,179.161).
It would be really nice if USDA’s Economic Research Service would add these all up for us, but it’s short staffed (remember the forced move of the agency to Kansas City that I complained about so much last year.
But foodborne illness costs a lot, in health care costs, lost work and productivity, and all the other bad things that happen when people get sick.
It’s best to do everything possible to prevent foodborne illness before it occurs.