News Column

Social Media Gives a Boost to Restaurant Health Inspectors

June 3, 2013
yelp

Social media review sites and mobile apps are all the rage when it comes to technology associated with restaurant inspections.

San Francisco recently posted its restaurant health inspection data on Yelp. The goal in partnering with Yelp was to link the city's restaurant health score data with customer reviews and ultimately start a trend of standardizing health score data across the U.S. New York City and Philadelphia are also getting involved.

To make posting inspection data a reality, a new national open data standard, called the Local Inspector Value-Entry Specification, was created. The standard enables any city to voluntarily share restaurant inspection scores on Yelp or other websites to make that data more transparent.

On the mobile app front, Sacramento County, Calif., and other municipalities are releasing smartphone apps that will make looking up inspection scores easier.

Launched in late 2011, the Sacramento County Food Facilities Inspections app shows a person's current location in the county and nearby retail food facilities, which are marked on a map and on a list. The color of the markers on the map indicate the most recent food inspection result, inspection date and links to more detailed information.

Food inspection data refreshes daily and is complete for all food facilities in the county, including restaurants, bars, grocery stories, convenience stores, school cafeterias and most facilities that dispense food to the public.

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