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NYC Uses Review Sites and Social Media Platforms to ID Foodborne Illness

Yelp ReviewsSince 2012, the Department of Health has been using a machine learning algorithm jointly created by Columbia University’s Department of Computer Science and New York City’s Department of Health to track instances of foodborne illness based on keywords found in Yelp restaurant reviews.   “On line restaurant review sites are popular and many people are more likely to discuss food poisoning incidents in such sites than on official government channels” 

In an ongoing effort to expand and improve foodborne illness surveillance capabilities, other social media platforms like Twitter have been added to the system.  To date, a total of 8,523 complaints and 10 outbreaks of foodborne illness have been identified using this strategy.
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