Food Safety STL
Helping City of St. Louis residents report cases of foodborne illness to the Department of Health through social media
What is Food Safety STL?
Food Safety STL (@FoodSafetySTL) is a Twitter account set up for residents to report cases of suspected foodborne illness, and further interact with the Department of Health. Meanwhile, a corresponding internal social media application will capture tweets that mention or use keywords related to foodborne illness located within a 25-mile radius from the center of the City of St. Louis. These captured tweets will prompt a response from the Food Safety STL Twitter account to provide further information on reporting. After a report has been submitted, the individual will receive either a follow-up reply tweet and/or an email providing him/her with a case number.
Complaints that fall outside of this jurisdiction will be appropriately referred to the corresponding local health department and the state health department.
Foodborne Illness and Social Media
Foodborne illness, also known as food poisoning, occurs when you get sick after consuming contaminated foods or beverages.
The CDC reports as few as 2.9% of those who become sick with foodborne illness seek medical care and most do not report their illness. As a result, existing surveillance systems only capture a small fraction of the disease burden, making prevention and evaluation of existing food safety policies and programs challenging. New media and information channels, such as social media and search engines, are a promising source of data for improving disease surveillance and reporting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why did I get a reply to my tweet from @FoodSafetySTL?
We use sophisticated technology to search Twitter for tweets related to foodborne illness in the City of St. Louis. Your tweet was identified as a possible foodborne illness case that took place within the City of St. Louis, and reporting your experience will provide us with additional information to investigate the case.
You can expect a reply tweet from @FoodSafetySTL noting that your form was received.
The Department of Health works to prevent and address foodborne illness in the community. We want to ensure food safety for you and your family.
Email us at FoodSafetySTL@stlouis-mo.gov or send us a tweet @FoodSafetySTL.
Food Safety STL is a new initiative funded by the Center for Dissemination and Implementation through the Institute of Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis. This project combines the expertise from the City of St. Louis Department of Health, Washington University in St. Louis, HealthMap at Boston Children's Hospital, and the Chicago Department of Public Health to improve foodborne illness surveillance and reporting by identifying and responding to foodborne illness tweets on Twitter.