An Aussie entrepreneur's food-poisoning website has become a phenomenon in the US, and soon could be shaping more than restaurant preferences.

Patrick Quade had already come a long way by the time he founded

Born in rural Trundle in the New South Wales Central West, he moved to the US for work in 1998, finding his way to New York.

An intended three-month transfer became permanent and by 2009 he was working as a high-level banker with Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley.

But it was in that same year that a toxic meal set him on a different path.

A bout of food poisoning led Mr Quade to thinking just how widespread the problem was.

"Forty-eight million people a year get sick from food poisoning (in the US), and 3000 die, with children the most at risk," he told

"I thought, ‘There should be something to help people’."

And was born; a novel but entirely era-appropriate idea: crowdsourcing data to paint a national picture of where not to eat.

For some years, Mr Quade said, he did not realise the full potential of what he had.

But as the reports flooded in, that changed.

"When we started noticing really noticeable trends, like a string of trends at Chipotle (Mexican Grill), that was when we knew," he said.

"We thought, ‘Wow, this is really powerful data’."

The Chipotle data was in fact powerful enough to catapult IWasPoisoned into the US headlines, when a string of complaints about a single restaurant location sent the restaurant company's stock price plummeting in July 2017.

At the time, while Chipotle acknowledged the potential use of the data on IWasPoisoned, it said it was hard to judge its integrity.

Questions were also asked in the media about how much validity should be attached to anonymously-sourced data.

Mr Quade said he was mindful of those issues, and methods to combat them were built into every step of the IWasPoisoned process.

"Every report goes into a queue, where we have front-end and back-end reviews. We look at time-stamps, the timing of reports. Not every report makes it onto the website," he said.

"It's about signals. One report is weaker, 120 is stronger."

Even the reports that are published on the website are removed after 30 days.

The website does not "cast a judgement", Mr Quade said, acknowledging that a lot of factors can be behind a single case of a sickening dining experience.

Indeed, he said the site's central aim was not to name and shame restaurants, but to help them improve - to everybody's benefit.

"We hold discussions to help restaurants, we work with public health agencies," he said.

It is this last comment that reveals part of the planned future for IWasPoisoned, and it goes a long way beyond reporting queasy burritos.

"We've had interest from health agencies for areas outside food," Mr Quade said.

"Consumers have modernised the way we communicate with each other and the world. Government agencies have not modified how they do things."

He believes the methods IWasPoisoned uses to gather and verify data from across the country could step into that space.

"But it's not easy to do," he said.

"We're definitely looking."

In the meantime, IWasPoisoned is hardly slowing down. With more than 60,000 page views a month and 17,000 reports in 2017 to September, the time is ripe for expansion.

Mr Quade said Australia was on that list, along with Singapore, Canada and the UK.

And if the US experience is any indicator, it could help change the face of the dining industry in the age of social media.

"We're a data agency, and we're being as responsible as we can," Mr Quade said.