In late December 2016, a Melting Pot franchise in Tacoma, Washington, was shut down for 24 hours by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, in part due to reports from IWasPoisoned.com.
Over the course of several days, nearly a dozen ill customers reported their symptoms on IWasPoisoned.com. After receiving reports from multiple users, Iwaspoisoned.com alerted the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to the potential of a foodborne illness outbreak.
The health department took action and ordered a temporary closure for the restaurant. It reopened 24 hours later.
The Tacoma News-Tribune interviewed IWasPoisoned.com founder Patrick Quade for an article about the temporary closure:
While norovirus is the suspected culprit, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has not yet been able to identify the pathogen responsible for the outbreak.
Read more below:
“The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department took action after reports started showing up on a website dedicated to crowdsourcing food poisoning complaints… Eventually, 15 Melting Pot diners posted on IWasPoisoned.com, and many called the health department.“ Link
Chipotle Mexican Grill hit the news in August 2015 in what was eventually a confirmed Norovirus outbreak. Iwasposioned.com was the first port of call for the majority of unwell customers. CBS News ran a story on the outbreak, citing Iwaspoisoned.com.
On August 21, 2015 Iwasposioned detected a potential problem at Chipotle Simi Valley, California, hours before the restaurant or health authorities were on the case.
Initial reports included all the classic symptoms of food poisoning – diarrhea, nausea, vomiting.
What made this different were the number of reports being posted. In the following days Iwaspoisoned.com received more than 70 reports from unwell customers, helping pinpoint a serious outbreak rather than an isolated event.
Realizing it had a health crisis on its hands, Chipotle shut down its Simi Valley store on August 21, to clean and restock food. It reopened 24 hours later.
Two weeks later the Ventura County health department confirmed the cause of the outbreak was Norovirus, a highly contagious viral infection, and a leading cause of gastroenteritis around the world.
The Ventura County health department eventually reported 98 customers and 17 employees were victims of the Chipotle, Simi Valley outbreak.
Iwasposioned was central to the story, allowing people to log their symptoms immediately and alert health authorities and the restaurant that something was terribly wrong.
You can read more below.
"Iwaspoisoned.com… had detected a potential problem in Chipotle's Sim Valley, Calif., store long before news of the Norovirus issue was reported.” Link
On March 13th 2016, Iwaspoisoned.com received four reports citing twenty people becoming sick after eating at an Applebee’s in Corunna, Michigan and alerted the Shiawassee County Health Department. More reports continued on Iwaspoisoned.com
The County Health Department opened an investigation and the restaurant cooperated, fully sanitizing the kitchen, bathroom and customer dining areas.
On March 22nd, approximately a week after the initial report, the health department confirmed a Norovirus outbreak linked to Applebee’s.
“A new website (iwaspoisoned.com) …. is collecting complaints, and we are seeing area county health departments confirming them.” Link