Graphics - iwp aug 31 2015 v2Crowdsourcing site was referenced recently in a CBS News report in what appears to be a food poisoning outbreak at Chipotle restaurant in Simi Valley, CA. CBS News Los Angeles reported on Aug. 22nd that a number of customers had allegedly fallen ill after dining at the Chipotle. The CBS report noted a primary source as
The Ventura County Star reported approximately 60 customers complained about feeling ill after dining Aug. 18-19, and 17 employees became ill. The restaurant briefly closed after the complaints were made, and inspectors disinfected it and threw out all the food. It reopened on Aug. 22nd and has stayed open since then.

In the report, CBS said “On the website, ‘,’ more than a dozen people posted the same symptoms Kam Zreik described after eating at the same Chipotle on Wednesday.” The CBS report can be viewed here in its entirety. encourages consumers to report instances of suspected food poisoning. The reports are gathered to show patterns that would indicate possible food poisoning outbreaks around specific dates.

“According to the CDC, food poisoning sickens 48 million Americans every year, hospitalizes 128,000 and kills 3,000 – it’s a very important health topic, and it is very clear when a pattern emerges at a busy crowdsourcing platform like,” said Patrick Quade of

Food lawyer and advocate Bill Marler ( encouraged the use of social media and crowdsourcing platforms as a means to stop outbreaks early. “Having a site like allows for consumers to share experiences and therefore allow restaurants and health officials to see a problem and correct it early,” said Marler.

In the past consumers who became ill would have no way of knowing many others became ill the same day eating at the same restaurant. The information gathered by can be used by both restaurants and health care workers to help better understand an illness outbreak. Multiple reports concerning a restaurant location can also be a signal for state or city health inspectors to investigate. “You can’t rely that every restaurant or health official will become aware of a pattern or problem, nor can we rely that every restaurant will make the information public in a timely manner. It’s up to consumers to work together to point out where there is a problem and press for a solution,” Patrick said.

Contact: Patrick Quade