The Role of Surveillance in Promoting Food Safety
Foodborne illness surveillance systems are designed to collect, analyze, and disseminate information about foodborne illnesses. Consequently, they help solve critical information problems faced by consumers, firms, and government agencies. By providing better information to the market, these surveillance systems create incentives (accountability) that leads to safer foods and better consumer awareness. For public health officials, surveillance provides a means to identify and mitigate current outbreaks, prioritize resources, and craft better preventative interventions.
To illustrate the economic value of surveillance, we provide an analysis of one system (PulseNet) using updated economic data and models. PulseNet-related activities lead to substantial social benefits due to reductions in illnesses due to Salmonella spp. and E. coli O157:H7. Adjusting for underreporting and underdiagnosis, as many as 330,840 Salmonella- and 17,475 E. coli-related illnesses are averted each year due to PulseNet. This leads to economic benefits of up to $5.4 billion.
KeywordsDisease surveillance PulseNet Cost of illness Economic impact Burden of illness Food safety Foodborne disease Foodborne illness
Centers for Disease Control Research and Prevention/US
Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response
Food and Drug Administration/US
Food Disease Outbreak Surveillance System
- FOOD Tool
Foodborne Outbreak Online Database
Hemolytic uremic syndrome
National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System
National Outbreak Reporting System
Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis
National Molecular Subtyping Network for Foodborne Disease Surveillance
Shiga-toxin E. coli
Whole genome sequencing
United States Department of Agriculture
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