An important aspect of the work of our Food Safety Officer's, is the investigation of complaints regarding food items and food premises.
We only investigate food safety matters that we consider present a significant public health risk. We are unable to deal with anonymous complaints, your personal details will be kept in the strictest confidence.Food complaints we may investigate include:
- Microbiological - Mouldy or unfit food
- Foreign object - contains a foreign body or matter that you would not expect to find in food.
- Chemical - an unusual taste or odour
- Labelling - Food beyond its use by date
- Dirty food premises
- Poor Hygiene Practices in premises
- Sightings of rats or mice inside a premises
In many cases, the situation can be resolved by you taking the matter up with the shop, takeaway or restaurant manager. Generally, businesses are concerned to find that you have found a problem with their food and will try their best to resolve the matter and it is recommended that this should be your first course of action before contacting the Council.
If you ask us to investigate a complaint about food that you have bought, it may be necessary for an Officer to come to collect the item and visit your home to see how the food has been stored since you bought it. However in most cases that we investigate you will be asked to bring the item into the Council offices.
If you ask an Officer to investigate a complaint you need to be aware of the following:
- We will not pursue compensation or a refund
- Once you hand over the complaint we will take whatever action we feel is appropriate
- You will not get the item back once you sign it over to us.
We will not investigate a complaint where:
- There is no public health risk
- You have already asked the shop or restaurant to investigate a complaint about food that has something wrong with it
- You have received a replacement, refund or compensation for the item
- You are no longer in possession of the complaint item
- There is undue delay between you discovering the fault and notifying us. This is because deterioration of the food over time may make it impossible for us to investigate. This is especially the case for complaints such as food that is mouldy or food that smells off.
- Continuity of evidence is broken
- The complaint is anonymous
- You are not sure where you bought the product.
There are also a number of foreign bodies in food that can look alarming but naturally occurring and are usually harmless. These are called 'intrinsic foreign bodies' see the common food complaints document below for more information.