New Studies Quantify Foodborne Illness In New Zealand

Source of Article:

 (12 December 2008)

12 December 2008 - The extent and cost of foodborne illnesses in New Zealand have been quantified in the findings of three new reports released today by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA).

Dr Donald Campbell, NZFSA's principal adviser of public health said "foodborne diseases have a major impact on New Zealanders' health and our economy."

When looking at the annual cost of the major foodborne illness to New Zealand, findings from the 2008 report titled 'Risk Ranking: Estimates of the Cost of Foodborne Disease for New Zealand' estimate the cost to society to be in the vicinity of $86 million. Approximately 90% of this cost is attributed to lost productivity due to absence from work. Campylobacteriosis is shown to account for approximately 90% of the estimated cost of foodborne illness.

"Our earlier 'Risk Ranking' report found that New Zealanders lost around five million days to all acute gastrointestinal illnesses. This dollar cost of the foodborne component further emphasises the importance of ensuring that public health is protected," said Donald Campbell.

The two other reports released are the first in a series. These are the 'Annual Report of Potentially Foodborne Disease in New Zealand 2006' and the same report for the 2007 year. This series will provide a consistent source of data and method of presentation to allow the monitoring of all foodborne illness in New Zealand. They provide valuable information that NZFSA and other science-based organisations can use to work to reduce the incidence of many illnesses where food and micro-organisms are factors.

The reports released today were commissioned by NZFSA and conducted on its behalf by the Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd (ESR).



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