Yelp Aims To Eradicate Food Poisoning

Chris CrumBusiness

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Two years ago, Yelp started showing health scores on listings in San Francisco and New York City. In the meantime it has begun doing so in other areas as various municipalities have adopted the system. Last May, Yelp was actually able to help health officials in New York find hundreds of cases of food borne illness.

Last month, Yelp formed an open data partnership with Socrata to distribute restaurant inspection information. Today, Yelp asks in a bold blog post if Yelp + open data equals the end of food poisoning.

My guess is no. This will not eradicate food poisoning. That said, it can't hurt.

"In the Spring of 2013, a group of randomly selected restaurateurs in a major U.S. city received a letter in the mail with their most recent restaurant hygiene inspection score," says Yelp's Luther Lowe. "Half of the recipients were also notified that this score would be published on Yelp."

"After the letters were sent, inspection scores for all restaurants were tracked to identify any changes in performance," Lowe adds. "The result? Restaurants informed that their score was posted on Yelp tended to clean up their act and have higher scores in their next inspections."

Lowe points to an article in Harvard Business Review, which explores the topic and Yelp's data partnerships.

Yelp recently revealed it now has over 100,000 developers using its API to integrate its data into their products. In December, it announced that it’s lending its API to the U.S. Department of Transportation to use in its SaferRide app to keep people from driving after they’ve had too much to drink.

In other Yelp news, the company announced that it has filed a lawsuit against a supposed "reputation management" company called Revleap, which it says is a scam.

Image via Yelp

Chris Crum

Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.