Make a complaint about food

The Public Health & Regulation Team deals with food complaints that pose a public health risk.

Do you suspect you have food poisoning?

If you are contacting Public Health & Regulation regarding your experience at an eating establishment within our area and suspect that you have contracted food poisoning please be aware that there are many illnesses that have very similar symptoms to that of food poisoning.

For single cases, we are only able to investigate and update you on this matter if we receive formal confirmation that your illness was caused by a particular food poisoning organism.

Formal notification means that we have been notified by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) that the sample you submitted tested positive for a particular food poisoning organism.

This can be done by arranging a faecal sample from your medical practitioner. The results will state what has caused your illness. With this information, we can commence an investigation.

We will inform the business that we have received a complaint and that further investigation may follow if your sample results are positive for a specific food poisoning organism.

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When to make a complaint about food

If there is a problem with food that you have bought that you believe could pose a food safety or health risk, you can report it to us using the complaint form below. This could include:

  • food that shows visible signs of mould or decay
  • food that contains a foreign object
  • food that has caused food poisoning, eg salmonella

Some common food complaints, while unpleasant, do not necessarily pose a public health risk. In these cases you should contact the food manufacturer or supplier to make a complaint.

The leaflet below provides examples of some common food complaints, with a guide to the best course of action to take for each one:

Please note: in order for your complaint to be eligible for investigation, we require the item of food concerned, its original packaging and proof of purchase. Without all three of these items we are unable to investigate your food complaint.

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Food related complaints that we are unable to investigate

We are unable to investigate the following types of food related complaints:

  • Unsubstantiated food poisoning allegations for single cases of suspected food poisoning: we are only able to investigate food poisoning complaints for single cases (one individual) where there is formal confirmation of food poisoning.
    See: food poisoning
  • Food labelling concerns relating to durability dates (best before/use by), information on the packaging and information on the packaging for allergens. All of these are enforced by Trading Standards, see Trading Standards below.
    See: food labelling
  • A food business displaying an incorrect FHRS sticker. This is about consumer information and so it is enforced by Trading Standards.
  • Complaints about food delivered from delivery partners (for example Just Eat, Deliveroo, Uber eats): If food delivered by a delivery partner does not match the order, arrived too late or has been delivered at an unpalatable temperature, then these are not food safety issues and will not be investigated. You will need to either contact the business that the food was ordered from or contact the delivery partner directly. The online help page links are listed below:

Please note:

  • If your food complaint is not of a serious nature (there is no risk of injury or illness), then we would encourage you to contact the shop or premises where you purchased the food and explain your concerns to them. See what they are prepared to do about it.
  • If you are not happy with their response or your complaint is more serious in nature then you can make a complaint and we will investigate it. Please note that we cannot pursue any compensation claims on your behalf.

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Anonymous food complaints

If you choose to make an anonymous complaint, we will be unable to notify you of the action taken in our investigation. There are also times when no further action from us is necessary as the matter falls outside our enforcement; we will therefore be unable to advise you of this situation.

Please be assured that all complainants' personal details are kept strictly confidential.

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How to make a complaint about a food premises or activity

If you are concerned about the hygiene standards of a food business that you have visited, or suspect that a food business has given you food poisoning, please let us know using the complaint form below:

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Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

The national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) is designed to help you choose where to eat or shop for food by telling you how seriously a food business takes their food hygiene standards. For more information please see:

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Page last updated: 17 June 2024

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