WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Mayor Edwin M. Lee, Chairman of the US Conference of Mayors Technology and Innovation Task Force, and Yelp CEO and Co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman announced the initial integration of city-provided restaurant health score information on the site that connects people with great local businesses. San Francisco will lead the charge on this innovative effort to make valuable government data more easily accessible to the public; New York City restaurant grades will also be added as business attributes in the weeks ahead.
Working with the technology departments of San Francisco and New York, Yelp's engineering team designed the Local Inspector Value-entry Specification (LIVES) which enables local municipalities to accurately upload restaurant health inspection scores to Yelp's database. Consumers in SF and NYC will be the first to benefit from this partnership upon the full rollout in the weeks ahead. Philadelphia is also expected to participate along with other municipalities that adopt the new specification.
"This new partnership with Yelp to offer restaurant health inspection scores on its site is another significant step in the Open Data movement," said Mayor Lee. "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.""Increasing the transparency and accessibility of important public information is another example of how San Francisco, New York and other municipalities are leading the charge in bettering citizens lives by fostering innovation," said Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO and Co-founder of Yelp. "It's exciting to be a part of an important initiative to disseminate valuable health department information to the 84 million unique visitors that turn to Yelp each month on average." According to a study in the Journal of Environmental Health 1 ( March 2005), Los Angeles County's decision to require restaurants to display hygiene grade cards on their entrances led to a 13 percent decrease in hospitalizations due to food borne illness. The study also demonstrated that the mandatory public display of these health grades improved the overall average score of restaurants in Los Angeles by incentivizing improved best practices across the local industry. As a leading website and app for dining decisions, Yelp's open data initiative LIVES stands to empower consumers and improve the quality of life within the cities that participate in the program. Details about and screenshots of the LIVES implementation can be found at yelp.com/healthscores.