Turns out there is a positive story about salmonella.
The nationwide outbreak caused by peanut products has actually pushed the federal agencies responsible for Americans’ health to find more social ways to communicate.
The Centers for Deisease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) and Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) are now working together to provide users of the web easier access to more information.
The blog ReadWriteWeb pointed this out this morning – but it’s something eagle-eyed users of NECN.com might have noticed back on Friday. On Friday, we posted a new widget built by the FDA that lists all the foods affected by the nationwide recalls.
Widget? A widget is a small piece of code that runs on your webpage and can be updated in real time – in effect, we give up a little piece of real estate, and the FDA could update it. So as the products list changes… it will be reflected on our NECN.com page – or anywhere else that the widget is posted.
The widget gives you an easy way to search for products affected by the massive peanut recall that continues right now, and it gives content providers like, say, NECN.com, an easy way to get the best information directly to you, without having to redesign a webpage every time products are added to the list.
And the widget isn’t the only thing the CDC and FDA have created. The agencies also have a map (which you see in the report) that regularly updates the number of salmonella cases by state – and like the recall list, it’s an embeddable widget that a site owner could post and never have to update. If you go to the CDC’s social media site, you can also see other widgets, blogs and Twitter accounts the agencies are launching. Some of the ideas seem great, others (like the “Have you checked your cabinets for recalled products?” e-cards) seem a little more unusual. But even those cards have a purpose – after all, Web users are far more likely to act on a recommendation from a friend than one from a government agency.
It’s tough to get positive about salmonella – but it’s good to see agencies recognizing new ways of communicating, especially in an area where timely communication can save lives.