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Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Foodborne Illness Costs US $152 Billion Annually

A new study estimates the total economic impact of foodborne illness across the nation to be a combined $152 billion annually. To obtain a copy of the report, visit www.MakeOurFoodSafe.org. The interactive online map that graphically represents this cost information for every state in the nation is available at www.MakeOurFoodSafe.org/cost_map. According to ScienceDaily

[t]he 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.... 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 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).

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