Every year, foodborne illnesses sicken millions of people around the globe. Severe cases may result in death or permanent disabilities, especially for more vulnerable individuals such as children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that every year 2.2 million people, mostly children, are killed by foodborne and waterborne diarrhoeal diseases.1 According to a study published in the journal Nature, as many as 30% of all infections in the last 60 years originated from pathogens transmitted through food (Jones, Patel et al. 2008). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that in the United States alone there are approximately 48 million cases of food-borne illnesses every year, 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths, resulting in significant costs for consumers, healthcare and the private sector.2 In Europe, data for 2009 show about 325,000 cases of reported infections and 5,550 foodborne outbreaks, mostly attributable to Salmonella (EFSA and ECDC 2011). The actual number of infections is likely to be higher given that the majority of cases go unreported, especially those that do not result in outbreaks affecting a conspicuous number of people. Additionally, also the impact of foodborne illnesses is likely to be underestimated because sometimes infection can lead to sequelae and complications.

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M.G. Faure (Michael) , A. Arcuri (Alessandra)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
This thesis was written as part of the European Doctorate in Law and Economics programme. I would also like to acknowledge the support of the Trustfonds of Erasmus University Rotterdam.
EDLE - The European Doctorate in Law and Economics programme
Erasmus School of Law

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