Tag Archives: Hackathon

Food data to go

We know from past hackathon events that the attendees are a talented hive of production and we want to help you to make more honey. At the Food Standards Agency, we have a healthy appetite for openness. This is because we’re an independent government department with no specific minister. It means openness and transparency are in our DNA.

We publish open data about food.

So let’s cook

We’re excited to be part of the Open Data Camp and have a series of digital offerings to serve up. If you’re into making stuff, we’re keen for you bring your experience to the table and use our data to make a new innovative application and that can include social media.

Below are details of our main datasets and some examples of where to find existing applications. These might inspire you.

Do let us know how you get on @foodgov and use #opendata. Our @drsiant will be at the event and me, @davidberrecloth, via Twitter.

  1. UK food hygiene ratings API (JSON and XML format)


About the geo-coded data

The food hygiene ratings given to restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways, hotels and other places consumers eat, as well as supermarkets and other food shops. A food business’s rating reflects the standards of food hygiene found on the date of inspection or visit by the local authority.

Get data

Our API 2.0, which includes calls to the server, can query and return data (not the whole dataset though):


A more basic API as well as static XML files by local authority:


Consumers can search for ratings at:



There are a number of app outlets offering hygiene rating apps based on our data – have a search of Apple, Android, Windows, BlackBerry, for example. Also, there are a number of websites. Search for ‘food hygiene ratings’ to find these. Can you think of a potential social media application? For example, a Facebook check-in at a restaurant displays the restaurant’s rating on a map?

  1. Allergy alerts and food alerts (RSS feed)


About allergy alerts

Peanuts, egg, milk, fish are some of the 14 major allergens and when allergy labelling is incorrect on a food product, or if there’s another food allergy risk, the food product has to be withdrawn from sale or recalled to protect consumers. Food allergic reactions range from mild to very serious. Most people are not allergic to all 14 allergens and we know affected individuals would benefit enormously if they could get alerts for the allergen that they are affected by, straight to their preferred social media feed.

Get allergy alerts


About food alerts

If there’s a problem with a food product (such as it contains pieces of metal or a nasty food bug) then that means it should not be sold and might be withdrawn (taken off the shelves) or recalled (customers are asked to return the product for a refund).

Get food alerts


  1. Audit of meat establishments (CSV format)

About the data

Slaughterhouses (abattoirs), meat cutting plants and wild game handling establishments are audited by us to make sure that they are:

  •         complying with food law requirements
  •         meeting relevant standards in relation to public health and, in slaughterhouses, animal health and welfare

More information at www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/meat/audit

Get data



Search web for ‘meat audit app’.

  1. UK local authority enforcement data (CSV format)

About the data

If something goes wrong or the risks become too high, local authorities can take enforcement action against a food business – closure, seizure of food, a simple caution, or a prosecution, for example. Data showing food law enforcement action taken is available in CSV format for the past four years up to 2013/14.

Get it


  1. Food and You survey

About data

This consumer survey is used to collect information about reported behaviours, attitudes and knowledge relating to food issues. It provides data on people’s reported food purchasing, storage, preparation, consumption and factors that may affect these, such as eating habits, influences on where respondents choose to eat out and experiences of food poisoning

Get data and user guide





It can be used for marketing to target food messages to the right groups through the relevant channel.

Keep connected

Join the conversation at @foodgov using #opendata

Be our Facebook community food.gov.uk/facebook

Watch our videos food.gov.uk/youtube

Get our news by RSS food.gov.uk/rss

Get our news by email food.gov.uk/email

Enjoy the weekend guys!

Coming Soon: Open Data Camp UK

Just over a week ago we held the latest in a series of (invitation-only) “Informing Hampshire” events, aimed (mostly) at people working in the public sector in-and-around Hampshire.

Open Data: Fuel for Decision-Making

The theme this time was “Open Data: Fuel for Decision-Making”, and there was a marvellous line-up of speakers bringing their perspective on open data. I’ll blog separately about that on the ‘new’ Hampshire Hub (as Protohub will shortly be retiring).

Not many of the people who attend Informing Hampshire are active tweeters, so we don’t usually bother with a hashtag. This time, however – as it was open data-related – we did a bit of tweeting using the #InfoHants hashtag. It was surprisingly popular, and a few people expressed interest in future events.

A big Camping fan

I’m a big fan of unconferences, particularly the GovCamp movement, with its various spin-offs and variants like:

I’ve blogged a bunch of times about unconferences, so I won’t repeat that here.

Wot, no Open Data Camp?

Last Saturday – still fizzing from the talks the previous day – I posted a speculative tweet asking if there was any appetite to bring together lots of people to talk (and possibly make stuff) with open data. It seemed so obvious it was difficult to believe that there hadn’t already been an open data and unconference mash-up (see what I did there?)

@ODCamp (UK) is born

Despite it being Saturday lunchtime, loads of people replied, many offering to help. Later the same afternoon, Sasha Taylor created a Twitter account @ODCamp, giving us an initial focal point.

James Cattell pitched in suggesting we get a Trello Board going to manage activities, and Ben Proctor pointed out that February 21st 2015 just happens to be International Open Data Day...

On Monday evening we – Sasha Taylor, James Cattell, Giuseppe Sollazzo – held a small Google Hangout to pool ideas.

We held another hangout on Wednesday with a larger group: @MartinHowitt,@drsiant, @NorthernJamie, @Jargonautical, @HendrikG, @Sasha_Taylor@NeilFord, @jaCattell.

A plan coming together

Over the next few days several potential sponsors** got in touch, and we began to look at potential venues in a bit more detail. Realistically it’ll take a few weeks to sort everything out and confirm details, but it’s really looking like Open Data Camp will happen, probably in February (hopefully the weekend of 21/22 Feb).

There will be a web site soon, and we’ll*** keep you posted with progress.


  • I confess to bias on this one, as I’m one of the organisers, along with Sasha Taylor

** We need more sponsors to help the event go with a bang, so please get in touch if you’re interested

*** I keep hearing talk about the need to break down barriers, work in partnership, collaborate more etc. The people involved in organising Open Data Camp are from across the UK (furthest North so far = Manchester, furthest South = Devon), from various sectors (Central Gov, Academia, Emergency Services, Local Gov, and Private Sector). All are volunteers, working in their own time.