A new study has found that some 76 million people fall ill from food poisoning each year in the United States, costing 152 billion dollars in medical costs and lost productivity.
The study issued Wednesday by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and The Pew Charitable Trusts at Georgetown University ranks US states according to their total costs related to food-borne illness and individual cost per case -- an average of about 1,850 dollars.
"The costs associated with food-borne illness are substantial," said report author Robert Scharff, a former FDA economist who now teaches at Ohio State University.
"This study puts the problem of food-borne illness in its proper perspective and should help facilitate reasonable action designed to mitigate this problem."
Connecticut, Hawaii, Florida, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, the capital Washington (District of Columbia), Mississippi, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey topped the list of states and territories with the highest food-borne illness-related costs.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention link food-related illness to 5,000 deaths and 325,000 hospitalizations each year, out of a total of 76 million new cases.
The report was released as the United States mulls a vote on comprehensive food safety legislation.
The House of Representatives passed its version of a food-safety bill in July, while the Senate is considering related legislation.