Foodborne Illness

Foodborne illnesses are caused by ingesting bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses, toxins, or other harmful substances in contaminated food. Knowing the costs of foodborne illness helps policymakers rank risks, focus policy, and prioritize spending. Some of the first economic estimates of the costs of foodborne illness were provided by ERS.

ERS researchers:

  • conduct economic analyses of the benefits of improved food safety,
  • refine estimation methodologies, and
  • provide updated estimates of the costs of illness for selected foodborne pathogens.