We usually go out to restaurants to eat some delicious food at our favorite restaurants but did we ever think about it that every bite of food that we eat outside can make us sick. The food that comes out of our own fridge can also make us sick but restaurant food is more prone to towards foodborne illness. According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates, foodborne illness costs the US more than $15 million dollars annually. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has claimed that Restaurant meals have a higher incidence of foodborne illness than home-made food.

The restaurants need to improve overall health by undertaking food-safety training program since the Americans have a habit of frequently eating outside food or going to restaurants for outside meal. A new study has come out from the researchers of Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health in which they have claimed that taking preventive steps could be more cost-effective than chancing even a small outbreak.

Study co-author Sarah Bartsch of Global Obesity Prevention Center spoke about the research to a leading international publication and said, “Restaurants can incur substantial costs, up to $2.6 million, in the event of a foodborne illness outbreak. A small outbreak of five persons could cost up to $8,300, even when there is no loss of revenue… no lawsuits, legal fees, or fines.”

The researchers for the study built a computer imitation that modeled different types of foodborne illness in different kind of restaurants—fast food, fast casual, casual dining and fine dining. From the CDC list, they drew the list of food-borne pathogens that contaminated restaurant’s food between 2010 and 2015. As it came out, it was revealed that alone in 2015, more than 450 restaurants were affected and about 60 percent of outbreaks were recorded in that year. The illness ranged from norovirus, E. coli, and salmonella—to botulism and Hepatitis A., The overall study made these restaurants ‘sick’ with 15 of the viruses that attacked the food and charted out the financial impacts of each illness at varying outbreak sizes. The impact includes legal fees and fines and secondary revenue loss.

Sarah Bratsch further added, “Even the least expensive outbreak still cost $4,000, which is more than some infection and prevention control measures, like allowing adequate sick time for ill employees to recover before returning to work.”

The researchers model used the data from government agencies and found out that a sick restaurant employee in the kitchen costs around $78 to $3,500 per week while the single outbreak of norovirus cost up to $2.2 million.