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Foodborne Illness Cost Calculator


The Economic Research Service (ERS) estimates of the costs of illness and premature death for a number of foodborne illnesses have been used in regulatory cost-benefit and impact analyses. Like all cost estimates, the ERS estimates include assumptions about disease incidence, outcome severity, and the level of medical, productivity, and disutility costs. Changes to any of these assumptions could change the cost estimates and, as a result, change the way policymakers rank risks, prioritize spending, and formulate food safety policies.

The Foodborne Illness Cost Calculator provides information on the assumptions behind foodborne illness cost estimates—and gives you a chance to make your own assumptions and calculate your own cost estimates. More overview...

What You Can Do

Users can examine the impact of different assumptions on cost estimates and risk rankings, and change these assumptions to reflect any specific information about disease incidence, medical costs, productivity losses, or disutility. By changing the number of cases assumption, you can calculate the costs of foodborne illness for a particular State or region, or for a particular foodborne illness outbreak.

Enter the Calculator

To get started, choose a pathogen below. Salmonella and shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157 (STEC O157) are currently online. Check back as we build the system to include more pathogens and estimates.

Pathogen CDC estimate of annual number of cases ERS cost estimate
(2010 dollars)
Campylobacter (foodborne sources) 2,000,000  
Salmonella (all sources) 1,397,187 $2,708,292,046
Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157 (STEC O157) (all sources) 73,480 $488,771,183
Non-O157 shiga toxin-producing E. coli (non-STEC O157) (all sources) 31,229  
Listeria (all sources) 2,797  

First Time Users

Help is just a click away. Get detailed instructions on how to proceed.

Related Resources

Food Safety briefing room


Send us your comments and tell us what you think of the Foodborne Illness Cost Calculator.


This web-based tool can be used to generate estimates of the costs of foodborne illness. While the ERS foodborne illness model serves as the basis for generating new cost estimates, users should understand that any new estimates generated with the Calculator are not official government estimates.

CDC has recently released new estimates of annual Salmonella and STEC O157 cases (see Foodborne Illness Acquired in the United States—Major Pathogens). For more information, see Salmonella and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157 STEC O157).


For more information, contact: Paul Frenzen

Web administration: webadmin@ers.usda.gov

Updated date: June 24, 2011