In June 2012, the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority (SZPI) launched a useful website for consumers. The site, potraviny na pranýři (Food Pillory) shows an updated list of all products that their inspectors have come across that is dangerous, adulterated or poor quality. Users can search the site by a range of criteria, including food type, store, category, etc.

Our project attempts to build on the wealth of information SZPI provides by putting it in geographic context. On the original site, the only two ways to find out about products is by browsing through the list or by searching for particular terms. Users can now look for products, or the stores that sell them, in relation to where they live. The site is continually updated using information scraped from the Food Pillory website. (Note: This site makes no claims to the content of the data; it is only a reflection of publically accessible information posted on the original site.)

Our site (and the code it’s based on) is open source. It is part of a conversation on transparency and open government data. The SZPI did a great service by starting this conversation, and this is our response. We hope more people will join the conversation by taking what we have built and adding to or improving it.

The data we scraped from the website and the scraper code are both available on the site for anyone to borrow, copy, change, improve, etc. We only ask that if you do anything interesting with it, please let us know. We would love to see where this conversation goes.

About us: NetProphet is an English-language blog that tracks tech and new media development in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The blog is part of Transitions, an international publishing and media development organization based in Prague and registered as a Czech nonprofit organization. Our mission is to improve the professionalism, independence, and impact of the news media in the 30 post-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the former Soviet Union. We also publish Transitions Online, an Internet magazine that covers political, social, cultural, and economic issues in the region. The magazine has a strong network of local contributors, who provide valuable insights into events in the region’s countries.