Chick-fil-A has developed a new high-tech solution to fight the problem of foodborne illness. The chicken chain will use artificial intelligence software to monitor social media and spot signs of an outbreak.

During a presentation at the ReWork Deep Learning Summit in Boston, Chick-fil-A's senior principal IT leader of food safety and product quality Davis Addy outlined how the company plans to use the technology. "For us in this journey with analytics and food safety, we’re going from a place of hindsight to insight … and eventually foresight so we can be more proactive in helping our Restaurants better identify and address food safety risks."

The software can detect signs of foodborne illness from social media posts with 78% accuracy. Store managers will receive notifications via a Chick-fil-A mobile app, calling their attention to posts that may contain complaints about feeling unwell from customers. From there, they’re able to contact customers directly if they so choose.

Norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea, infects 19­–21 million people annually and causes and between 570–800 deaths. Most of these outbreaks occur in foodservice settings.