States’ using for outbreak alerts

Dan Flynn at Food Safety News: “The crowdsourcing site has collected thousands of reports of foodborne illnesses from individuals across the United States since 2009 and is expanding with a custom alert service for state health departments.

“There are now 26 states signed up, allowing government (health) officials and epidemiologists to receive real time, customized alerts for reported foodborne illness incidents,” said founder Patrick Quade.
Quade said he wanted to make data more accessible to health departments and experts in each state.

“This real time information provides a wider range of information data to help local agencies better manage food illness outbreaks,” he said. “It also supplements existing reporting channels and serves to corroborate their own reporting systems.”

The Florida Department of Health, Food and Waterborne Disease Program (FWDP) began receiving alerts beginning in December 2015.

“The FWDP has had an online complaint form for individuals to report food and waterborne illnesses,” a spokesman said. “However, the program has been looking for ways to expand their reach to ensure they are investigating all incidents. Partnering with was a logical choice for this expansion.”…

Quade established in New York City seven years ago to give people a place to report their experiences of being sickened by restaurant food. It gives such people a place to report the restaurants, locations, symptoms and other details and permits others to comment on the report….

The crowdsourcing site has played an increasing role in recent nationally known outbreaks, including those associated with Chipotle Mexican Grill in the last half of 2015. For example, CBS News in Los Angeles first reported on the Simi Valley, Calif., norovirus outbreak after noticing that about a dozen Chipotle customers had logged their illness reports on

Eventually, health officials confirmed at least 234 norovirus illnesses associated with a Chipotle location in Simi Valley…(More)”