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Economic Cost of a Listeria monocytogenes Outbreak in Canada, 2008

Thomas, M. Kate, Vriezen, Rachael, Farber, Jeffrey M., Currie, Andrea, Schlech, Walter, Fazil, Aamir
Foodborne pathogens & disease 2015 v.12 no.12 pp. 966-971
Listeria monocytogenes, decision making, economic costs, foodborne illness, listeriosis, meat, meat processing plants, pathogens, public health, Canada
Estimates of the economic costs associated with foodborne disease are important to inform public health decision-making. In 2008, 57 cases of listeriosis and 24 deaths in Canada were linked to contaminated delicatessen meat from one meat processing plant. Costs associated with the cases (including medical costs, nonmedical costs, and productivity losses) and those incurred by the implicated plant and federal agencies responding to the outbreak were estimated to be nearly $242 million Canadian dollars (CAD, 2008). Case costs alone were estimated at approximately $2.8 million (CAD, 2008) including loss of life. This demonstrates the considerable economic burden at both the individual and population levels associated with foodborne disease and foodborne outbreaks in particular. Foodborne outbreaks due to severe pathogens, such as Listeria monocytogenes and those that result in product recalls, are typically the most costly from the individual and/or societal perspective. Additional economic estimates of foodborne disease would contribute to our understanding of the burden of foodborne disease in Canada and would support the need for ongoing prevention and control activities.