The food scandals and foodborne disease outbreaks in recent years have increased the demand for food safety and have led policy makers once more to tighten the safety regulations in the food supply chain. Obviously, an adequate balance between the costs of foodborne diseases and the costs and benefits of improved food safety is not static but time-varying and depends very much on specific situations. Given the complexity of an economic assessment of food safety, it is not surprising that the literature in this field mainly analyses particular stages but not the complete food supply chain from the farm to the consumer. This paper focuses on the costs of foodborne diseases and aims to review and classify the existing literature along a set of certain evaluation criteria. Our main findings are that most studies so far have been conducted in the USA and the UK. The reviewed studies consider mainly the consumption level of the supply chain, focus on tangible costs, examine budgetary costs and costs of individuals, and make use of the cost-of-illness approach.