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Products Liability

A Little Bird and the Food Poisoning Next Door

October 31, 2013 | Michael Barasch

Eating should not be dangerous. In recent years, the safety of the food supply at home and in restaurants has become a much talked-about issue. In New York, if you eat out regularly, you might want to know about complaints of illnesses following restaurant visits. New research might help you figure that out. 

While many people joke about food poisoning, foodborne illness is serious. Common citations at New York restaurants include: 

  • Live mice or rats or evidence of them
  • Flies, cockroaches or evidence of their presence
  • Food supplies not protected from contamination during storage, preparation or use
  • Hand-washing equipment not present near food preparation areas or near toilets 

No one wants to think about it while considering the menu, but both rats and mice and their feces carry serious germs like typhus and salmonella. Cockroaches deserve their bad reputation for carrying bacteria like staphylococcus, clostridium and streptococcus. If there is bad stuff at the restaurant you frequent, it would be good to know. How can you tell? 

Other than results of the inspection by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the University of Rochester has developed a novel algorithm called nEmesis that uses crowd-sourcing information gleaned from Twitter. In a four-month period, 3.8 million tweets traced 23,000 restaurant visits and turned up approximately 480 cases of possible food poisoning. The results, according to researchers, roughly compared to existing health department findings. 

Having a better understanding of what goes on where your food is prepared might help you avoid a rare, but serious foodborne illness. And if you are injured on the premises of another, be sure to talk to an experienced injury attorney in New York.

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