The Tampa Bay Tribune ran Annys Shin’s (Washington Post) article on the long-term health consequences of foodborne illnesses. Given my post last night, it is timely. Increasing the safety of our food supply makes [cents]. As I said to her:
These people face a lifetime of medical treatment. "Anyone with HUS will be monitored for the rest of their lives. If the acute course was severe enough, the risk of long-term kidney complications, including end-stage renal disease and kidney transplant, is quite high. The future medical cost alone can then be in the millions," said William Marler, a Seattle lawyer who sues retailers and food companies on behalf of food poisoning victims.
That is the scenario Elizabeth Armstrong faces. Her two daughters got sick after eating bagged baby spinach in 2006. Her older daughter, Isabella, who was 4 at the time, survived with no apparent health problems. But her younger daughter, Ashley, who was 2 at the time, developed HUS. She has only 10 percent kidney function and will likely need more than one kidney transplant in her lifetime, including one before she is an adult.
So, let’s focus on food safety in 2009.