Donate |

By the numbers: $100,000,000,000+

Consumer Reports News: June 23, 2011 01:58 PM

The estimated annual cost of food borne illnesses in the United States, according to a study by Ohio State University researcher Robert L. Scharff funded by the Pew Memorial Trust.

The report says about a quarter of that total is attributable to produce, which can carry salmonella, E. coli (shown at right) and other illness causing agents. The $100 billion+ total includes the sum of medical costs (hospital services, physician services, and drugs) and quality-of-life losses (deaths, pain, suffering, and functional disability). The average cost for different illnesses vary a great deal. For example, each incident of Listeria monocytogenes, a particularly nasty pathogen believed to be responsible for hundreds of deaths each year, can cost more than $1 million. At the other end of the scale is Bacillus cereus, which typically causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, which costs only about $200 or less per incident.

Bob Williams


E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Latest From Consumer Reports

Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus reclaim innovation leadVideo They offer bigger screens, slim designs, better hardware, and much more.
Find the right tires for your crossover, pickup, or SUV New tests cover all-season truck tires, all-terrain models, and winter tires.
New Apple Watch brings innovation to your wristVideo But the smart watch won't be available until early next year.
To get rid of head lice, try combing them out firstVideo Your initial treatment step shouldn't be with Nix, Rid, or other chemicals.
Skip the home warranty and put the money in the bank Even the best service contracts typically aren't worth the cost.
GM makes big step toward self-driving carsVideo The Cadillac CTS will go autonomous with 'Super Cruise' technology.


and safety with
subscribers and fans

Follow us on:


Cars New Car Price Report
Find out what the dealers don't want you to know! Get dealer pricing information on a new car with the New Car Price Report.

Order Your Report


Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more