Make Our Food Safe
11/17/2011

"Grocery loyalty cards help trace food-borne illness source"

USA Today | Elizabeth Weise

"An outbreak of salmonella in five Eastern states has sickened 42 people so far this year, with two hospitalizations. Dozens more might have been struck down were it not for a strikingly successful new tool used by public health officials to quickly figure out what was making all those people sick: the lowly shopper-loyalty card.

Food safety officials are increasingly finding value in plumbing shoppers' food buying habits through these loyalty cards when they're faced with food-borne illness outbreaks across communities and even states that seem to have no obvious links.

'It's very helpful because it's very hard for people to remember what they ate a couple of days before, not to mention a couple of weeks ago,' says Casey Barton Behravesh, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention..."

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