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Social Media Proven To Help Detect & Prevent Food-Related Illnesses

The Telegraph
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has claimed that data lifted from social media sites is aiding in the detection and prevention of food-related illnesses.

Posts on sites such as Facebook and Twitter with related hash-tags are being monitored in order to discover potential outbreaks that are identified by food poisoning symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhoea. The likelihood of many people posting about their abnormal bowel issues seems unlikely, but any spike in the activity could be used to issue health warnings. Not only this, the information may even be passed on to the NHS to educate staff about oncoming norovirus. It is believed that by observing posts on Twitter, detection time can be rapidly reduced - spotting illnesses up to two weeks earlier.

This is not the first time social media has been used in relation to food safety. Earlier this year, researchers were able to track down 480 cases of food poisoning in New York by tracking the hashtag #upsetstomach. Increasingly it seems social media is playing an integral part in medical science and research.

Professor Guy Poppy, chief scientific adviser to the Food Standards Authority, said that they had "proved" that it could successfully use Twitter as an "early warning system" and intended to use the technology for all sorts of information gathering purposes.

SMF rookie, fresh out of academia, looking forward to more creative ventures. With a love of current affairs, green tea and an ever insatiable wanderlust, Katie is ready to have her voice heard. Follow her @KatieAtSMF

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Social Media Proven To Help Detect & Prevent Food-Related Illnesses Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, November 16, 2015 Rating: 5

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