Online restaurant reviews may provide more than a thumbs up or thumbs down; now health department officials are turning to the websites as a way to spot food poisoning outbreaks.
The New York City Department of Health partnered with Yelp, (a business review website). They studied nearly 300,000 restaurant reviews over a nine month period and searched for words consistent with food poisoning.
They found more than four hundred reviews that described a recent food borne illness and they identified three unreported food poisoning outbreaks.
Only three percent of the potentially four hundred food poisoning cases reported on the website were relayed to the department of health.
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