Health Inspection Data on Yelp
In 2021, Health Department Intelligence (HDI) began a partnership with Yelp to display inspection details for restaurants and other food service facilities on the Yelp platform.
Research shows that making health inspection information easier to find can lead to:
Informed consumer decision-making
Better hygiene at restaurants
Improved public health outcomes
Increased revenue for clean restaurants
Frequently Asked Questions
Yelp publishes data from Health Department Intelligence (HDI), and in some cases directly from health departments, using the Local Inspector Value-Entry Specification (LIVES) standard format. For a given food service facility, its inspection history is provided; these records include attributes such as:
- Date of visit
- Inspection type
- Violations cited for each past inspection
Two types of health scores are published on Yelp:
- A health score that HDI collects directly from the local health department's publicly available data. On the Yelp platform these scores are labeled "powered by Health Department Intelligence."
- An estimated health score from HDI. On the Yelp platform these scores are labeled "estimated by Health Department Intelligence." Many health departments do not report inspection scores or grades, so HDI collects underlying local health department data to provide an estimated score. To calculate an estimated score, our system considers the number of violations in an inspection, giving double weight to critical violations over non-critical violations, then assigns a score out of 100 points. Only inspections that have no violations receive a perfect score of 100.HDI ensures that estimated scores in each health department jurisdiction follow a fixed distribution that's representative of average health department behavior. We aim to effectively use the underlying data to summarize the original inspection results, while not being overly harsh or lenient.
We collect health inspection data from local health departments through online data collection technology tailored to each agency's publication method (online search portal, API, file download, etc.). We gather as many relevant data fields as we can accurately and reliably collect (e.g. inspection date, inspection type, violation details etc.) given each health department's reporting practices. Our automated collection methods are more cost-effective and faster for health departments compared to the public records requests which could otherwise be necessary to access this information.
For Restaurant Operators
Many local health departments provide educational resources to help restaurant operators in their jurisdiction improve their food safety and hygiene practices. We suggest that you check your local health department's website or contact their office to understand what resources may be available to you. Additionally, EcoSure’s dedicated team of experts conducts assessments and inspections to identify potential risks, ensuring that your brand maintains the highest standards of safety and compliance. EcoSure provides custom solutions to address specific challenges faced by food service and retail establishments. We provide data analytics and technology solutions that for enterprise and multi-location food service and retail providers. Health Department Intelligence is an award-winning software that is used by more than 200 leading brands to manage food safety, regulatory compliance and reputational risks.
Yelp publishes data from HDI, and in some cases directly from health departments, using the Local Inspector Value-Entry Specification (LIVES) standard format. For a given food service facility, its inspection history is provided; these records include attributes such as:
- Date of visit
- Inspection type
- Violations cited for each past inspection
Please refer to Yelp's LIVES documentation page for more details.
When the health department, HDI, and Yelp are all working quickly, the latest inspection for a business should appear on Yelp within a week. However, in some cases it may take longer for a new inspection to appear on Yelp. The process of making health inspection information available on Yelp has several steps:
- First, the health inspector must complete their report and submit it to their health department.
- There may be a delay — lasting hours, days, or even weeks — before the report is published online by the health department, depending on how the agency operates.
- Once the report is published online, HDI's data collection technology typically retrieves the information within 24-48 hours; our data is sent to Yelp shortly afterwards.
- Additional quality control measures may, in some cases, result in further delays before the information is shown on Yelp.
In practice, we find that the source of most delays is the lag time before the health department posts their report online. If your health department doesn't post their reports quickly, we encourage you to speak with them or your local government officials to advocate for improving the way they publish data — the faster the reports are published, the sooner you and the rest of the general public can benefit from them.If an inspection report has been published on a health department website more than two weeks ago and isn't appearing on Yelp, please contact our support team at HDISupport@ecolab.com. To help us address your inquiry as quickly as possible, be sure to include the Yelp URL of the business, the name and street address of the business, and the URL of the health department's report (if available).We aim to respond to all inquiries received before 6 pm ET on the same business day, and otherwise by the next business day.
Although many areas of the US are served by health departments that publish their data online, around 20% of the population is not as fortunate. We aren't able to send Yelp any data for such "offline" jurisdictions. If you'd like your health department's data to be made available online, we encourage you to speak with them or your local government officials. Some health departments which do publish reports online, however don't include sufficient details. If both an inspection score and specific violation details are missing from a report, data is considered too incomplete to show on Yelp.In a few rare instances, a health department may have their data online, but HDI hasn't added the website to our automated data collection system. This situation could occur if the website has major issues that prevent us from collecting data accurately, or if the website is brand-new and we aren't aware that it exists. If this is the case, we'd like to hear from you. Please contact our support team at HDISupport@ecolab.com to suggest new health department websites for us to cover.
If you're not seeing a health inspection for a particular restaurant on Yelp, but nearby locations do have their data on Yelp, you may have found a location that we haven't covered yet. It could be a brand-new restaurant, or there might be an issue with data collection. Please refer to the previous question (“Why is the most recent inspection for my business not appearing on Yelp?”) for more details on this scenario.
HDI's data is collected directly from the information published online by health departments, totaling more than two million inspections each year. From time to time, errors on health department websites or in our software will cause something to be collected improperly, despite our continuous efforts to monitor and correct for these problems proactively. We're grateful for your help in fixing any problems so that Yelp users can get the best information possible. As a first step, we recommend that you double-check the health department website.
If you're seeing a discrepancy between HDI data and the health department website, please contact our support team at HDISupport@ecolab.com. To help us identify the issue as quickly as possible, we ask that you include the URL of the health department's report, the Yelp URL and the name and street address of the business in your message. We aim to respond to all inquiries received before 6 pm ET on the same business day and otherwise by the next business day.