Robert L. Scharff, a former economist with the Food and Drug Administration and current Ohio State University assistant professor in the department of consumer sciences, wrote the report, which he based on analysis of the economic principles currently used by the F.D.A. and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in cost analyses.
The release of the peer-reviewed report comes as the F.D.A. works toward developing mandatory and enforceable safety standards.
“An up-to-date cost analysis of foodborne illnesses is critical for F.D.A. officials and lawmakers to craft the most effective and efficient reforms,” said Jim O’Hara, director of the P.S.P. “A decade ago, we spent more than $1.3 billion annually to try to reduce the burden of foodborne illnesses and today we are spending even more. We need to make certain we are spending limited funds wisely and hitting our target of reducing sicknesses and deaths, and this study gives us a yardstick to measure our progress.”
According to the study, the total cost of foodborne illnesses was highest in California, at $18.6 billion, followed by Texas at $11.3 billion and New York at $10.4 billion. Wyoming ranked last with $245 million in total costs.
For the full report visit www.producesafetyproject.org.