New York City is keeping track of food poisoning outbreaks using Yelp

Yelp is a popular service that is used by millions of people around the world to research about venues they might be interested in visiting. Users often post reviews of restaurants they visit and if they don’t like it they can warn other diners. Its up to people how seriously they take a restaurant’s bad reviews but they might not be the only ones reading. Health officials in New York City are using Yelp reviews to trace unreported outbreaks of food poisoning. According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has completed a pilot project in which they used Yelp reviews to track outbreaks.

After a particularly bad restaurant meal, you may be moved to post a reviewon the website Yelp, warning other diners. But now someone else is listening in: New York City health officials, who may try to track you down if you complain that the meal made you sick. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report on Thursday saying that the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene had completed a pilot project that used Yelp reviews to help identify unreported outbreaks of food-borne illness. Using a software program developed by Columbia University, city researchers combed through 294,000 Yelp reviews for restaurants in the city over a period of nine months in 2012 and 2013, searching for words like “sick,” “vomit” and “diarrhea,” along with other details. After investigating those reports, the researchers substantiated three instances when 16 people had been sickened. Those people had eaten the house salad, shrimp and lobster cannelloni, and macaroni and cheese spring rolls at three restaurants that the agencies are not identifying.

What do you think?

Avatar of Rocco Penn

Written by Rocco Penn

A tech blogger, social media analyst, and general promoter of all things positive in the world. "Bring it. I'm ready." Find me on Media Caffeine, Twitter, and Facebook.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

This robotic arm can catch things better than humans can

Samsung has unveiled a flip phone geared towards “older generations”