Want to Know at Which Restaurants People Get Food Poisoning? This App Might Help.


A group of graduate students at the University of Rochester have devised a program that tells users which restaurants to avoid if they don’t want to get food poisoning. But this ain’t your run-of-the-mill Yelp for food-borne illnesses. The program, called nEmesis (heh), tracks tweets from dining establishments in real time to determine if users get sick or not. Using geotagged tweets and machine learning algorithms, the program can detect whether or not the tweeter has gotten sick within 72 hours of eating somewhere.

New York City already has its own food inspection program to deal with restaurateurs serving old meat, mostly in the form of random unannounced inspections. That means even if people are getting ill, if a surge in food poisoning doesn’t coincide with an inspection, the violations may go unnoticed.

nEmesis could provide health inspectors with real-time data about the joints they might consider dropping by if one too many patrons walks away with a stomachache.

The program isn’t commercially available yet, but I’d imagine Foursquare hasn’t cornered the market on geotagged food sickness.

(h/t: Atlantic Cities)