The Pew Charitable Trusts seeks to reduce health risks from foodborne pathogens through collaboration with food producers, researchers, regulators, and other stakeholders. The food safety system should focus on prevention through scientifically sound risk assessment and management.
An estimated 1 in 6 Americans gets sick from food each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infections from harmful bacteria, parasites, and viruses in food can lead to long-term health problems and even death, and these preventable illnesses are particularly dangerous for vulnerable groups such as young children and older adults. U.S. health-related costs for foodborne illnesses range from an estimated $15 billion to more than $70 billion a year. Additionally, these microscopic pathogens in contaminated foods trigger product recalls and related business expenses for food companies, adding billions of dollars to the financial burden.