October 21, 2016

New Twitter App Tracks Foodborne Illness Outbreaks in Chicago

We've told you before about apps that can help keep you safe from food poisoning, and how Twitter may be playing a role in foodborne illess outbreak investigations. Now a company in Chicago has created a new Twitter app called Foodborne Chicago. The project is part of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, an organization "devoted to improving lives in Chicago through technology." The app asks people who think they contracted food poisoning at a restaurant to fill out a form, which is sent to the Chicago Department of Public Health. The app also uses computer codes to search Twitter for anything relating to food poisoning in the Chicago area. People review the tweets and reply back to people who posted about them, asking them to fill out the web form.┬áThe form asks which restaurant the person … [Read more...]

Scientists Urge Food Safety Professionals to Use Social Media

A new paper published in the journal Trends in Food Science and Technology states that food safety professionals should use social media as a communication tool. The research paper was produced by FoodRisC, a food benefit and risk communication organization in Europe, and is titled "The Use of Social Media in Food Risk and Benefit Communication." About two billion people worldwide use the internet. Monitoring social media can help professionals understand consumer perception of food issues. Social media can also give public health officials real time insight into outbreaks as they develop. Unfortunately, miscommunication can also occur through this outlet. The paper states that "food risk communicators need to be present and pro-active on social media to increase visibility for the … [Read more...]

Social Media Aids Las Vegas Marathon Sapovirus Outbreak Investigation

On December 4, 2011, the annual Rock 'n Roll Las Vegas Marathon took place. More than 40,000 runners attended. Two days later, there were reports of illness to the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD). And the event's Facebook page started accumulating complaints of illness. Food Poisoning Bulletin has reported before about the use of social media in outbreaks, how experts want to use these tools to track outbreaks, and how the government uses Twitter to keep people informed about recalls and outbreaks. The water distributed at the race itself didn't seem to be the source of the outbreak, despite many people focusing on that as the cause. The water was pumped from hydrants along the race course and stored in plastic-lined garbage cans. Some runners reported that volunteers were … [Read more...]

#KYF2 Tweetup Huge Success

Yesterday's #KYF2 Twitter meeting, sponsored by the USDA, was a huge success. Thousands joined in on the conversation about the government's "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" compass, an online tool designed to coordinate resources within the USDA and map out local and regional food projects. Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan was in charge of the conversation, which touched on everything from encouraging children to get involved in farming to food safety. Merrigan said, "No one gets a pass on food safety, in my mind, I don't care if you're the biggest farm in the world or the smallest. ... But there are different ways of getting there. One of the things that we funded through the Risk Management Agency was working with FamilyFarmed.org ... they developed a food safety … [Read more...]

Following the Trend: USDA Launches State Twitter Feeds

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) launched a series of Twitter feeds that will provide state-specific, food safety alerts to consumers. The alerts will focus on meat, poultry, and processed egg products. Information about protecting food supplies during severe weather will also be provided. Food Poisoning Bulletin has told you about Twitter aiding food poisoning outbreaks in real time, and how researchers are studying social media to help predict outbreaks. This is something new. Twitter feeds for all U.S. states and territories will launch during the first week of March. The first feeds launched today, for: Alaska Arizona California Colorado Hawaii Idaho New Mexico Nevada Oregon Utah Washington USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. … [Read more...]

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