Impact on Society
Ingestion of pathogens through contaminated food often causes diseases in humans and the severity of these can vary from mild symptoms to life-threatening conditions or even death.
Since the registered cases of illness caused by pathogens generally are recognised as not being representative, the true yearly incidents could well be 5-20 times higher, in the EU up to 4 million for Campylobacter and 1.7 million for Salmonella infections. Similarly, in the USA the true yearly number of incidents have been estimated up to 2.4 million Campylobacter infections and 1.6 million Salmonella infections.
A number of people die every year because of pathogens or related complications. It is mainly the very young, the elderly or the immunocompromised. Estimates of the actual number of deaths in EU per year are more than 1000 for Salmonella and more than 100 for Campylobacter.
The costs to society are huge and include lost earnings as well as expenses related to health services such as laboratory tests, treatment and increased risk of chronic diseases. Estimates of costs per illness vary from € 260 to € 600 and total yearly costs to EU society therefore could well be € 2.4 billion.
A Danish risk assessment (Danish Veterinary & Food Administration, DVFA, 2001) has concluded that a reduction of Campylobacter presence in chicken food products by a factor 100 would reduce the number of human infection cases by a factor 25, i.e. in Europe from 4 million to only 160,000 people per year.
SonoSteam reduces Campylobacter and other pathogens and thereby has the potential to minimise the risk of human foodborne infections and to reduce the economic burden to society.