Why Report Food Poisoning?
1. We forward reports to public health agencies.
2. We monitor and review all reports.
3. We detect outbreaks, helping protect friends & family.
4. We moderate to eliminate inauthentic or malicious reporting.
YOUR REPORT MAKES A DIFFERENCE
Millions of people get food poisoning every year, and thousands die. The annual economic cost is in the billions. The majority of cases are unreported due to mild illness, limited public knowledge of reporting procedures, or the absence of laboratory confirmation of disease. Reporting helps improve foodborne disease burden estimation, timely outbreak detection, and evaluation of policies.
In late July, Iwaspoisoned.com detected an issue at a Chipotle in Sterling Virginia. We were the first to detect this outbreak, and in total we received reports citing over 150 sickened. The county eventually went on to formally identify an outbreak with over 130 sick, and indicated a possible norovirus link. Chipotle announced later that they believed that the incident related to a sick worker. Business Insider reported "Customers reported symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, severe stomach pain, dehydration, and nausea to the website iwaspoisoned.com..."
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“The reports — which were collected on the crowdsourced early-warning site “I Was Poisoned” — describe severe vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pains “ Link
In late December 2016, Iwaspoisoned.com noticed a likely issue from a Tacoma Melting Pot following a number of reports related to the same store. Over the course of several days, nearly a dozen ill customers reported their symptoms on IWasPoisoned.com. Through Iwaspoisoned.com's alerts process, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department was notified, and following their investigation ordered a temporary closure of the restaurant.
The restaurant cooperated with the health department mandate and closed down, reopening 24 hours later.
The Tacoma News-Tribune interviewed IWasPoisoned.com founder Patrick Quade for an article about the temporary closure.
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“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