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Economic Cost of Foodborne Illness in Ohio

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Past efforts to evaluate the economic burden of risks from foodborne illness in the United States have generally taken the form of studies focused on a single or a small number of "important" pathogens. As a result, the economic impact of many less prominent pathogens has not been sufficiently explored. Consequently, currently available studies only provide cost estimates for fewer than 4 million of the 76 million cases of foodborne illness, are incomplete, and, as a result, underestimate the efficacy of broad-based intervention programs. We present a cost-of-illness model that enhances the oft-cited U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service model. Our model uses a more comprehensive set of pathogens, includes pathogen-specific hospitalization costs, and includes measures to account for lost quality of life. We also use Monte Carlo simulations to evaluate the effects of uncertainty in our analysis. We find the estimated annual expected economic cost of foodborne illness for Ohio to be between $1.0 and $7.1 billion, which translates into a per-Ohio resident cost of $91 to $624. Our results can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of broad-based food safety programs.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Consumer Sciences, The Ohio State University, 1787 Neil Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210-1295, USA 2: Department of Human Nutrition, The Ohio State University, 1787 Neil Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210-1295, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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