Yelp to let you know whether you should or should not eat the chicken

Yelp announced Thursday that it will begin listing hygiene ratings for restaurants in San Francisco and New York City, with plans to expand to Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago soon.

Yelp worked with the cities of San Francisco and New York to develop an open data standard — LIVES, or Local Inspector Value-Entry Specification — that “allows municipalities to publish restaurant inspection information to Yelp.” 

The information would be communicated to users through a health score, indexed from 1-100.

San Francisco users will also be able “to click through and view the inspection history of a local establishment”, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppleman wrote on the company blog Thursday.

“Public/private partnerships like this don’t necessarily provide a direct contribution to Yelp’s bottom line, but evidence suggests the LIVES open data standard will have a positive impact on society,” Stoppleman said, citing a Los Angeles study about consumer health and hygiene scores.

According to a study of the Los Angeles restaurant industry, when consumers have better exposure to restaurant hygiene scores, the number of hospitalizations due to foodborne illness drops,” he said. “The LA study also demonstrated that when restaurant scores are posted conspicuously, best practices improve across the industry.”

“This new partnership with Yelp to offer restaurant health inspection scores on its site is another significant step in the Open Data movement,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee , chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Technology and Innovation Task Force, in a statement about the partnership.

“By making often hard-to-find government information more widely available to innovative companies like Yelp, we can make government more transparent and improve public health outcomes for our residents through the power of technology,” Lee said.

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