Burden and Risk Assessment of Foodborne Disease

  • Brecht DevleesschauwerEmail author
  • Robert L. Scharff
  • Barbara B. Kowalcyk
  • Arie H. Havelaar
Part of the Food Microbiology and Food Safety book series (FMFS)


Foodborne illness is typically associated with acute gastroenteritis, caused by intestinal infection by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. The actual scope of foodborne disease is however much broader than this. Intestinal infections with common pathogens such as Campylobacter or Salmonella may result in disabling complications, long-term health outcomes, or even death. Furthermore, foodborne hazards include a broad range of microbiological and chemical agents, several of which are able to cause extra-intestinal disease, e.g., central nervous system manifestations due to congenital toxoplasmosis or cancer due to heavy metal exposure.

In addition to the health impacts, the economic burden of foodborne disease affects many segments of society, e.g., the individual who becomes sick from consuming tainted food, the retailer who sells the contaminated product, the food producer who allows contamination, and the government agencies that monitor, investigate, and regulate all incur costs from foodborne disease. Accordingly, economists have been very interested in assessing the costs associated with foodborne disease.

In this chapter, we present an overview of the key methodological approaches that have been used to generate estimates of the health and economic burden of foodborne disease.


Burden Economic impact Foodborne disease Health impact 



Disability-adjusted life year


European Food Safety Authority


Food and Drug Administration


Food Safety Modernization Act


Global Burden of Disease


Quality-adjusted life year


Quality of life


Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed


Summary measure of population health


Value of statistical life


Value for a statistical life year


World Health Organization


Willingness to accept


Willingness to pay


Years lived with disability


Years of life lost


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brecht Devleesschauwer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robert L. Scharff
    • 2
  • Barbara B. Kowalcyk
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Arie H. Havelaar
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Public Health and SurveillanceScientific Institute of Public Health (WIV-ISP)BrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Human SciencesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Department of Food Science and TechnologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  4. 4.RTI InternationalResearch Triangle ParkUSA
  5. 5.Center for Foodborne Illness Research and PreventionRaleighUSA
  6. 6.Department of Animal Sciences, Institute for Sustainable Food SystemsEmerging Pathogens Institute, University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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