Data report: When are you most likely to get food poisoning?

On occasion I will peruse the data made available by Google Trends, and just today I found an interesting data point; food poisoning searches are spiking in Minnesota. Why is this? The data doesn’t say, but they do lead to another more interesting question; when do searches for food poisoning usually spike? If you take a look at the table on the right you will notice that there is a recurring peak for the past three years right on the week of Christmas day.

Now we will take a closer look at Minnesota. In this chart there is a clear spike on the week of Christmas 2017. For whatever reason Christmas of 2017 here in Minnesota turned out to be a particularly bad one, turning up twice the amount of searches as any of the previous years; more than any time in the past 5 years! That said, the current spike in searches for food poisoning is still in progress, so this week may beat the Christmas 2017 record.

The only clue to the source of the spike in food poisoning searches is that a related trend google suggested was the search “Chipotle food poisoning“ and “Chipotle food poisoning 2015“; while that may be concerning google trends is no epidemiologist, so this data-point has to be taken with a grain of salt. A clearer tale to be told from this data is that people should probably be a bit more careful preparing a meal for their next family get together.