Workplace Issue: How Food Safety Protects Employee Productivity

In considering workplace wellness, one area many employers may not have adequately considered is food safety. But a new Business Pulse release from the CDC Foundation outlines why businesses ought to pay attention.

Writes Business Pulse: “Foodborne illness is a costly challenge for American businesses and consumers. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year about 1 in 6 Americans get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die. Medical and industry costs of these illnesses exceed $15.5 billion. CDC estimates that reducing foodborne infections by just 10 percent would keep 5 million Americans from getting sick each year.”

In a Q&A, Robert Tauxe, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, explains how the CDC has created a program to detect sources of outbreaks: “Finding and investigating outbreaks is crucial to stopping them and understanding how to prevent them from happening again. Starting almost 20 years ago, CDC built a national laboratory network called PulseNet. This network helps detect outbreaks by comparing the molecular “fingerprints” of the bacteria that made people sick and connecting similar cases of foodborne illness together to quickly find outbreaks and link illnesses across states. PulseNet now includes public health laboratories from all 50 states, as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS).”

The CDC Foundation also offers an excellent infographic that outlines the challenges, as well as what businesses and individuals can do to take action and avoid costly issues: