Foodborne Illnesses Cost Texas $2 Million Since October 2012

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.


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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.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media's business reporter, covering the oil...

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