DAN LAPTEV, an electronics analyst, was making his way through the Charlotte, N.C., airport last February when he stopped at Starbucks-

For a light dinner -a ham-and-cheese sandwich and a cup of hot chocolate.

He ate, drank, boarded his flight and got home. And that when the trouble really started.

Mr. Laptev spend much of that night hunched over the toilet with a violently upset stomach. Suspecting his Starbucks was as the source of his ills, he sent a complaint through the company's website, but-

Got only an automated form email back. So he did the next best thing : He logged on to computer and submitted his saga to:

IWasPoisoned.Com, a website that allows users to post reports of food poisoning.

''I wanted to let people know to stop eating at Starbucks,'' he told journalist Kevin Roose.

This is an era of Internet-assisted consumer revenge, and as scorned customers in industries as varied as dentistry and dog-walking have used digital platforms to broadcast their displeasure-

The balance of power has tipped considerably in the buyer's favor.

This is especially true of IWasPoisoned, which has collected about 89,000 reports since it opened in 2009.

Consumers use the site to decide which restaurants to avoid, and public health departments and food industry groups routinely monitor its submissions, hoping to identify outbreaks before they spread.

The site has even begun to tilt stocks, as traders on Wall Street see the value of knowing which national restaurant chain might soon have a food-safety crisis on its hands.

The Operational Research on Food Safety continues to Part-2


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