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Int J Food Microbiol. 1989 Dec;9(4):313-26.

Costs of acute bacterial foodborne disease in Canada and the United States.

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Bureau of Microbial Hazards, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Bacterial foodborne disease is increasing in industrialized as well as developing countries. For Canada and the United States many millions of cases are believed to occur each year, based on extrapolations of survey data, human enteric isolations and reported foodborne disease cases. The economic impact of such a large number is probably in billions of dollars but the precise figure is difficult to calculate. Medical costs and lost income are easier to determine than losses to food companies, legal awards and settlements, value of lost leisure time, pain, grief, suffering and death. The evaluation of costs at the national level for Canada and the United States based on all available costs for 61 incidents showed that company losses and legal action are much higher than medical/hospitalization expenses, lost income or investigational costs. It was reckoned that on an annual basis an estimated 1 million cases of acute bacterial foodborne illness in Canada cost nearly $1.1 billion and 5.5 million cases in the United States cost nearly $7 billion. The value of deaths was a major contributor to the overall costs especially for diseases like listeriosis, salmonellosis, Vibrio infections, and haemorrhagic colitis. Salmonellosis is the economically most important disease because it affects all parts of the food system, unlike typhoid fever and botulism, which are largely controlled by public health authorities and the food industry.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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