Foodborne Illnesses Cost Texas $2 Million Since October 2012

Cyclospora stained [CDC image]
The Texas Public Interest Research Group, or TexPIRG is releasing a study on the cost of food safety scares over the past twelve months. The group finds Texas came a close second to California in terms of the economic damage inflicted by foodborne illnesses.

TexPIRG analyzed data on foodborne illnesses compiled by the Centers for Disease Control since October of last year.  The group found that lost wages, medical expenses, and deaths from such illnesses cost $22 million nationwide. For Texas, the bill came to $2 million.

Sara Smith is program director for TexPIRG. She says federal budget cuts, such as the sequestration, are hampering the work of food safety inspectors.

“Congress acted in 2010 to pass the Food Safety Modernization Act, and this act was designed to prevent these outbreaks. But the FDA hasn’t taken the steps to enforce the rules they have and implement additional rules to protect consumers.”

The majority of Texas cases stemmed from an outbreak of cyclospora that swept the nation this summer. The cyclospora parasite causes severe diarrhea, among other symptoms. Texas accounted for more than 40% of reported cases during the outbreak.

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...