Food complaints

We may be able to help where you have a complaint about food that you have bought. Where there could be a serious risk to health the Council can investigate the complaint on your behalf. This could possibly lead to a prosecution of the offender if enough evidence exists to establish that an offence has been committed.

Complaints we can deal with

  • Food that has been sold to you that is either decomposing or mouldy;
  • Food that contains a material that should not be there (otherwise known as foreign material or body) i.e. insects, glass etc.
  • Food that is thought to have caused vomiting or diarrhoea.

Compliants we can't deal with

  • If you are seeking compensation or refund, then the Council will not investigate the complaint. The complainant in this case will be advised to instruct solicitors to act on behalf of them, or directly contact the vendor or manufacturer.
  • If you feel that your food has been adulterated in any way or there is an issue of quality with the food, then please contact our trading standards team.

Register a complaint

Please contact us to register a complaint.

Please note:

  • if the complaint is found over the weekend it is important you handle the food as little as possible, keep the packaging and receipt if possible and notify the appropriate environmental health service as soon as possible on a working day
  • if the food is highly perishable then this should either be refrigerated or frozen. It is very important to try and prevent, for example, any further mould growth or decomposing of food
  • if there is a foreign body in the food i.e. glass/metal again it is important that the foreign matter is not removed from the food and is handled as little as possible.

Information required for an investigation

In order for us to pursue an investigation we will need the following information:

Complainant details
Name, address, telephone number. We will also establish if there is a connection between the complainant and the vendor/or manufacturer and whether the complainant is willing to give a statement.
Purchaser details
if different from the above.
Complaint details
Reason for the complaint, product details, brand, date and time of purchase etc.
Storage conditions
At the time of sale, whilst taken home, in the complainants home
Vendor details
Name and address
Additional information
Symptoms if ill, time between ingestion and onset, details of handling after problem was discovered etc.

Investigation length

Complaints whether formal or informal can take a considerable amount of time as other local authorities, vendors, importers, laboratories, manufacturers and legal departments may need to be contacted so that we can pursue our investigation. At any time during the investigation we may need to contact you to gain further information.

You can also contact the investigating officer who will give you an up to date account of the investigation.

If the food business can show that it has taken all reasonable precautions to ensure food safety, then this will be held as a legal defence in court, even if it is felt that the food was unsatisfactory when you purchased it.

Actions following investigation

Whilst pursuing an investigation the officer may deem it necessary to pass the complaint to another investigating authority i.e. Trading standards. Alternatively the complaint may be closed due to lack of evidence, due to the fact that there may be nothing legally wrong with the food, or that there is a legal defence available to the food business.

Once the investigation has been completed the officer will then decide on the necessary action to take, this may be informal or formal

Informal
Advice given to the manufacturer, vendor or a warning. In cases where the decision is made by the officer to be informal, your details will only be disclosed with your permission.
Formal
If the decision is formal then you may be asked to provide a witness statement and you may be required to attend as a witness in court. In a formal case it is usual for your name to be disclosed to the manufacturer or vendor.