The Economic Burden of Foodborne Illness in the United States
Economic burden of foodborne illness estimates is an important measure for setting policy priorities and assessing the efficacy of potential interventions. This chapter presents estimates for the health-related cost of foodborne illness in the United States. Updated models and data are used to examine illness costs across a number of dimensions. Specifically, two alternative economic models (similar to alternative approaches used by major regulatory agencies in the United States) are employed to assess total cost and cost per case estimates at the national, state, and pathogen levels.
Similar to previous studies, the approach used here integrates a replication of CDC’s illnesses model with the economic models to produce estimates that reflect uncertainty in both illness model and economic model parameters. Monte Carlo analysis is used to incorporate parameter distributions across the combined model.
I estimate aggregate economic costs for all foodborne illnesses in the United States to be $60.9 billion (90% CI, $37.2–$90.8 billion) or $90.2 billion (90% CI, $34.2–$161.8 billion), depending on model used. The corresponding cost per case estimates are $1275 (90% CI, $805–$1970) and $1887 (90% CI, $720–$3492), respectively. These costs vary substantially across pathogens and states.
KeywordsCost of illness Economic impact Burden of illness Food safety Foodborne disease Foodborne illness
Centers for Disease Control Research and Prevention/US
Cost of illness
Consumer Price Index
Food and Drug Administration/US
The International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision
National Inpatient Sample
National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System
National Outbreak Reporting System
Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis
National Molecular Subtyping Network for Foodborne Disease Surveillance
Quality-adjusted life year
Shiga-toxin E. coli
Value of a statistical life
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