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Meat Pathogens Most Costly Contaminant

Friday, 29 Apr 2011 09:54 AM


Poultry, pork, and beef are responsible for half of the food pathogens that take their toll in medical care, sick days, and death. Researchers, applying federal data on food-borne illnesses, ranked the bacteria, viruses, and parasites according to their financial cost, The Washington Post reported.

Coming in first is campylobacter found in poultry. The contaminant sickens more than 600,000 people and costs society $1.3 billion a year. Second place went to toxoplasma found in pork and costs an estimated $1.2 billion a year. Listeria, found in deli meats, came in third, costing $1.1 billion a year, the study found according to the Post.

One of the authors of the study, J. Glenn Morris, said people tend to “think of food-borne disease as 24 hours of diarrhea and its over. What this shows is that there are diseases that have significant other manifestations that result in complications, even death. And as a result, the public health burden is so much greater.”

The 10 most expensive pathogens cost the U.S. economy $8.1 billion a year. Salmonella is the bacterium that causes the most disease overall, resulting in $3 billion in annual costs. The bacterium can be found in poultry, produce, eggs, and other foods, the Post reported.

Estimates by the federal government show one in six Americans gets sick every year from food-borne illnesses. Most recover quickly but some 100,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die, according to the Post.

To read the complete Washington Post story, Go Here Now.




© HealthDay

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