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Informal Study Shows Yelpers Tend to Blame Ethnic Restaurants for Food Poisoning

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An informal analysis shows that Yelpers accuse a higher number of ethnic restaurants of giving them food poisoning. The data gathered by Andrew Simmons over at Slate reveals that Yelpers far more often single out ethnic restaurants (about 68% of the time) than they do restaurants with culinary traditions originating in Europe. Even more specifically, Yelpers tend to point their fingers at a "disproportionate number of Asian and Latino restaurants."

Simmons points out that perhaps Yelpers are putting the blame on the wrong foods. Many Yelpers blame their food-related illnesses on the last meal they ate, but that is often not the one that has made you sick. A cousin of salmonella, which can be found in foods like improperly cooked turkey burgers, starts to sicken people "two to five days" after consumption of the dish. Salmonella can present symptoms up to eight days after eating dishes like salad contaminated with E.Coli.

A report published by the Centers for Disease Control showed how New York City health officials searched through Yelp using terms like "sick" and "vomit" to identify cases of unreported food poisoning. While they didn't give a breakdown of the types of restaurants in which cases were found, the researchers were successfully able to confirm cases of food poisoning linked to three dishes — a house salad, shrimp and lobster cannelloni, and macaroni and cheese spring rolls — none of which are very "ethnic." So perhaps Nate Silver shouldn't be using Yelp data to find America's best burrito, seeing as they are so ethnic and all.

· Gastronomic Bigotry [Slate]
· How the NYC Health Dept Used Yelp to Track Unreported Food Poisoning Cases [-E-]
· All Yelp Coverage on Eater [-E-]

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