It’s called for a reason: sick, vomit, diarrhea key words on the social media radar of food safety authorities

Australian health authorities are tracking a New York City initiative that uses social media and restaurant review websites to investigate cases of food poisoning.


A collaboration between the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Columbia University and popular review site Yelp resulted in the discovery of previously undocumented cases of food-borne illness originating in restaurants.

A spokesperson for the New South Wales Food Authority, said it will monitor the New York program and “any other jurisdictions that may have something similar.”

The NSW Department of Health, which manages complaints about restaurant hygiene from the public, said it did not use social media to research incidents of foodborne illness but the approach had merit.

“The City of New York example demonstrates an interesting use of social media which allows consumers to share information regarding foodborne illnesses,” a NSW Department of Health spokesperson told IT Pro.

homer.facepalm“NSW Health does not currently use this type of approach, but is looking at ways to increase the use of innovative technology to identify food-borne outbreaks.

The Victoria Department of Health did not respond to a request for comment.