Food-borne illnesses cost taxpayers $152 billion each year - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Food-borne illnesses cost taxpayers $152 billion each year, new report says

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A new report out Wednesday by the Produce Safety Project finds that food-borne illnesses cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars each year including in Washington and Oregon.

The report estimates that E. Coli and Salmonella outbreaks as well as other unknown sources create $152 billion in costs, primarily for health care. That figure factors the quality of life loss and medical expenses.

Congress is in the process of increasing regulation on produce products. The U.S. Senate is considering legislation requiring more government inspections of food manufacturers and giving the FDA more authority to order recalls. The House passed a similar bill last year.

Make Our Food Safe, a project affiliated with the group that released the report, has created a map with state-by-state numbers for the cost of food-borne illnesses. Total health related costs each year in Washington are more than $3 billion with the cost per case at $1,781, according to the group. Oregon's total cost is $1.8 billion and $1,813 per case.

To see the costs for food-borne illnesses in other states, check out the interactive map on the Make Our Food Safe website: http://www.makeourfoodsafe.org/cost_map

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