How to complain about a food business

Report a food safety / hygiene problem

No matter how good a manufacturer or supplier of food is there will be times when something goes wrong and the food sold is not acceptable to you as the customer.

Always read the label carefully with particular attention to 'use by' / 'best before' dates and instructions for use. If you use food that is out of date, or not in accordance with the instructions, you can expect problems.

The Council's food team will normally only investigate food complaints if there is a serious health risk.

In the circumstances outlined in advice for consumers on common food complaints it is normally best to complain directly to the company that sold you the food, without involving the Council. A good business should listen to your concerns and try to address them even though it may not always be their fault. They may replace the food for you or give you your money back.

Types of food complaints.pdf

Complaint investigation

If you have consulted the advice for consumers on common food complaints web pages and wish to make a complaint please use the on line form. We will then investigate your complaint where it is appropriate to do so.

When we investigate we will have two main aims:

  • To identify and prevent risk to public health
  • To investigate possible food safety offences

We will confirm the details with you and provide you with an initial assessment of your complaint and give you details of how to keep in touch with us.

What we need to know

We need to know:

  • Where and when you bought the food
  • How the food was packaged when you bought it
  • How you stored the food since purchase
  • How you discovered the cause for complaint
  • How your complaint affected you (for example, were you injured or ill?)
  • As your complaint could lead to prosecution, we may ask you and other witnesses to provide statements

While a complainant's details are normally kept confidential and are not routinely released they will need to be made public if legal proceedings are taken.

If necessary, we send samples of food to a Council appointed Public Analyst who gives us an expert opinion on what is wrong with it. The food is often destroyed during analysis we cannot return it to you later.

We will consider what precautions the businesses involved have been taken to prevent your complaint. If the complaint arose through circumstances which could not have been foreseen or prevented the law prevents the Council from taking action. In these cases no further action will be taken and we will notify you that the case has been closed.

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