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Yelp Reviews Help NYC Health Department Find and Close Dirty Restaurants 64

Posted by samzenpus
from the bad-dates dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news about a study that investigated the effectiveness of Yelp reviews in pinpointing the source of foodborne illnesses. "In 2012, New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) found that residents weren't turning to the city's free 311 service to make such complaints, but rather they were reporting their experiences in Yelp reviews. So the CDC, in collaboration with the New York City DOHMH, Yelp, and Columbia University, conducted a nine-month long research into the effectiveness of using online reviews to identify sources of foodborne illnesses. The study discovered 468 actionable complaints, 97% of which hadn't been officially reported to the city, and analyzed roughly 294,000 Yelp restaurant reviews. Subsequent investigations on suspected restaurants turned up evidence of bare-handed food handling, cross-contamination, or even the presence of mice and cockroaches. The study concluded that providing the public with more options for reporting complaints about restaurants, particularly in the social media sphere, would help in the identification and possible closure of sources of foodborne illnesses."
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Yelp Reviews Help NYC Health Department Find and Close Dirty Restaurants

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  • by sribe (304414) on Friday May 23, 2014 @08:46AM (#47073463)

    Dude, chill. "Subsequent" in this case obviously means subsequent to finding the bad Yelp review, not subsequent to to a prior inspection.

    Anyway, as to your suggestion: of all places, Alabama, where I grew up, has for several decades now required that the report be posted prominently near the entrance, such that you see it before you're seated or you can order. (Not only that, the inspector writes the grade across the whole thing with a fat marker in 6" high digits.) And I believe that it does make a significant difference. I was shocked to move out that state (with a well-deserved bad reputation for poor consumer-protection laws) and discover that in many other more "progressive" states the results of health inspections are hidden away.

"There are things that are so serious that you can only joke about them" - Heisenberg