In another example of the value of investing in public health, a recent study finds that PulseNet, a national foodborne illness outbreak network, prevents about 276,000 illnesses every year, which translates into savings of $507 million in medical costs and lost productivity. That’s a pretty big return on investment for a system that costs just $7.3 million annually to operate.
Multistate foodborne illness outbreaks accounted for only 3% of the 4,163 foodborne outbreaks during 2010-2014, but they were responsible for 34% of hospitalizations and 56% of outbreak-associated deaths.
In 2010, New York City health officials launched a new food safety tactic that assigned restaurants an inspection-based letter grade and required that the grade be posted where passersby could easily see it. So, did this grading make a difference? A new study finds that it has, with the probability of restaurants scoring in the A-range up by 35 percent.
When President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act into law in 2011, it was described as the most sweeping reform of the nation’s food safety laws in nearly a century. Public health advocates hailed the law for shifting regulatory authority from reaction to prevention. What received less attention was a first-of-its-kind provision that protects workers who expose food safety lawbreakers.
A former State health commissioner explains his tactic for averting cuts in public health funding.