What is the financial impact of food-borne illnesses?

May 5th, 2011

Yesterdays post which you can read by clicking the link above about the recent grape tomato recall questions what we have learned in the last three years since the massive cherry tomato recall.

One thing we have learned or at least taken a step towards understanding is the financial impact of these types of events. The Emerging Pathogens Institute of the University of Florida has issued a Report that indentifies the top 10 pathogen-food combinations that cause illness in the U.S. annually as well as their financial impact. Salmonella is the leading pathogen and the culprit in the recent tomato recall costing $3B per year. According to the report the top 10 pathogens cost us $8B per year.

This author believes you could actually triple those numbers as most cases of simple diarrhea and vomiting never make there way to the hospital or other medical centers, but do in fact cause loss of work, productivity and wages. $24B is a big number.

The lesson hear is that we have still not solved the food-borne issue illness or the farm to fork issue that requires a supply chain that is traceable to it’s original source. Until we do, what goes around will continue to come around and the costs will continue to go up.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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