The annual cost of foodborne illness in Australia

In 2020, FSANZ commissioned the Australian National University (ANU) to develop a cost model and report on the annual cost of foodborne illness in Australia. 

The cost model was used to generate estimates of costs for the report but is also a standalone product that can be updated and used by FSANZ and other regulators. 

The report includes costs for foodborne gastroenteritis due to all causes and costs due to the following ten pathogens that were selected through a prioritisation process: 


Listeria monocytogenes


Non-typhoidal Salmonella

Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (Salmonella Typhi)

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC)

Other pathogenic Escherichia coli


Toxoplasma gondii

Yersinia enterocolitica

Additionally, costs due to four sequelae were captured where appropriate: Guillain-Barrésyndrome (GBS), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), and reactive arthritis (ReA).

Direct financial costs included in the model are those related to diagnosis, treatment, and management of illness such as: visits to General Practitioners (GPs), visits to the Emergency Department (ED), hospitalisations, diagnostic testing, and pharmaceutical expenses. Indirect costs associated with non-fatal illness included lost productivity which was estimated using the human capital approach (with the friction cost method used in sensitivity analysis), and non-financial costs of pain and suffering which were approximated through willingness to pay (WTP) values to avoid such pain and suffering. Indirect costs associated with fatal illness were estimated using the value of a statistical life (VSL). The model excludes costs to business due to recalls and lost revenue; pain and suffering of friends or relatives; and transport, accommodation, or funeral expenses associated with hospitalisations or deaths.

In addition to costs captured by the model, this report describes costs incurred in investigating outbreaks and those relating to surveillance for foodborne disease. Four outbreak case studies were considered, and surveillance costs were estimated following consultation with federal and jurisdictional agencies.

The work involved experts from around Australia and overseas, including peer review by an independent reference panel.

See the Executive Summary: ANU Foodborne disease final report - Executive summary (PDF 330KB)

See the final report: The annual cost of foodbourne illness in Australia (PDF 1.43MB)