Food Hygiene

The economic cost of foodborne disease in New Zealand

Applied Economics, Prepared for the New Zealand Food Authority, November 2010

This report concerns the economic cost in New Zealand of the following six foodborne diseases:• campylobacteriosis• salmonellosis• norovirus• yersiniosis• STEC• listeriosisAll of them are bacterial infections except norovirus (which is a virus) and all may spread through ingesting contaminated food.All are characterised by gastroenteritis with diarrhoea and related symptoms. Most are self-treated and may not be recognised by the health system or impose a recognisable burden on the economy. Some, however, may be treated by general practitioners and others may develop complications and require extensive treatment and hospitalisation, including in isolated instances, protracted care extending well beyond the year in which the infection occurred.There are five main components to the cost of these diseases comprising:• Costs of regulation and surveillance incurred by the Government• Costs borne by businesses, including the costs of compliance and the consequential costs of food incidents and disease outbreaks• Costs of treatment—incurred mainly by the government by way of subsidies towards the cost of GP services, other community care and payments for inpatient hospital care• Costs associated with loss of output because of worker absenteeism caused by foodborne disease• Personal and lifestyle costs incurred by households and individuals in connection with private disbursements (where no recourse to government subsidy exists) and pain, suffering and disruption, including the possibility of premature deathMost costs of government regulation and many costs to businesses are fixed costs that cannot easily be allocated to individual diseases, except in a few specific instances. All other costs are variable and specific and are a function of the frequency, type and progression of incident cases of disease.The method of calculating each category of disease-specific variable cost involves multiplying the relevant central estimate of volume by price—i.e. health services per incident case × unit price in the case of treatment; days lost per incident case × earnings in the case of loss of output; and the number of days of healthy living lost to disability per incident case × cost of disability and death in the case of personal losses, including lifestyle and pain and suffering. Because the personal cost of disability includes costs attributable to loss of earnings by households, to avoid double counting, output losses borne by households are subtracted from total personal losses to yield a residual lifestyle loss.The table below summarises central estimates for the aggregate cost of foodborne disease in 2009 for each of the five cost categories identified above.

Summary of central estimates of total costs of foodborne diseases, 2009 includes government outlays of $16.4 million, industry costs of $12.3 million and $133.2 million for incident case costs of disease associated with treatment, loss of output and residual lifestyle los


Written by geraldmoy

March 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm