Consumer Study: Foodborne illnesses account for $152 billion in annual expenses

Legal News for District of Columbia Personal Injury Attorneys. Congress is expected to crack down on food safety litigation.

Personal injury lawyer alerts- Study reveals food contamination and foodborne illness outbreaks have resulted in $152 billion in medical costs and other expenses.

Washington, DC (News)—A new study conducted by the Produce Safety Project at Georgetown University exposed the true expenses associated with foodborne illness outbreaks…$152 billion dollars a year. Prior estimates regarding such medical-related costs, formally issued by the U.S. government, stated that expenses ranged from $7 billion to $35 billion annually. The study was released on Wednesday, March 3, 2010, according to information provided by Reuters.

While previous estimates were based on limited medical costs and pathogens, the Produce Safety Project’s study took into account 27 notorious pathogens, which included salmonella and listeria, and a broader spectrum of health-related expenses, subsequently resulting in the updated cost estimate of $151 billion a year. Food contamination threats have prompted a seemingly incessant slew of product recalls and caused many consumers to become sickened and under certain circumstances, die from these foodborne illnesses. Potential food borne illness hazards and occurrences tend to result in profit losses for manufacturers forced to recall tainted products. For instance, Kellogg Co. was forced to recall contaminated peanut butter, resulting in approximately $70 million in losses.

Such consumer health safety risks and episodes are also allegedly responsible for “medical costs, lost productivity and quality of life”, according to the study. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that 76 million people are sickened as a result of food poisoning each year, with 5,000 of these illnesses tragically proving fatal. Congress is reportedly expected to work towards improving food safety legislation this year, for the first time in 50 years.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for District of Columbia Personal Injury Lawyers.