14 Dec 2008

Food-borne illnesses hitting NZ economy and health hard

2:45 pm on 14 December 2008

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority says food-borne illness is costing the country more than $85 million.

The extent and cost of the illness has been outlined in the findings of a series of reports released by the authority.

The authority's principal adviser of public health, Dr Donald Campbell, says food-borne diseases have a major impact on New Zealand's health and economy.

He says about 90% of the cost is attributed to lost productivity due to absence from work, whether that be for personal illness or to look after dependant sick children.

The reports also found New Zealanders have lost about five million days to acute gastrointestinal illnesses.

Dr Campbell says the findings emphasize the importance of ensuring that public health is protected.