The Public Protection Service
investigatigates food complaints and complaints regarding food
premises. The type of complaints investigated include:
- Foreign matter in food i.e. glass, hair,
- Poor food handling practices in shops and catering
- Dirty conditions of food premises
- Feeling ill after eating at a local restaurant
You can report a food complaint to us by using
the contact details above. If the complaint relates to
a food product you have purchased, you may be asked to bring
it to the council for us to investigate. In certain
circumstances we can make arrangements to collect it from
you. Where a foreign object is found in food that is not
produced locally you maybe requested to contact either the trader
or the manufacturer directly or the local authority where they are
Information we need from you!
We will need to know
- When and where you bought / ate the food
- How you discovered the cause for
- How you stored the food since you purchased
it, if not eaten straight away
- Were there any adverse affects from consuming
- We may also ask if you would be prepared to
provide a witness statement
What happens to my food complaint?
Your food complaint will be passed to an
Officer who will decide the level of investigation required and the
most appropriate course of action. The officer may contact you for
further information. Don't forget this is the start of the
investigation and the officer may not be able to comment about the
How do we investigate your complaint?
The main object of the investigation is to try
to prevent a recurrence and protect public health. It may take
several weeks to investigate the complaint because sometimes it is
necessary to liaise with several outside bodies (such as the Public
Analyst and the Food Examiner). We may also contact the company's
head office, the manufacturer and the Local Authority where the
food is made. The Food Officer will endeavour to keep you informed
throughout the investigation process.
Often the Customer Service Department of a
major food businesses will want to contact you direct, but we will
only release your name and address details to them if you have
given us your permission to do so.
Occasionally, it may be appropriate to
consider more formal action. This may lead to a prosecution in the
Magistrate's Court. Sufficient evidence would need to be assembled
to prove the offence beyond all reasonable doubt. Additionally, the
Council would need to investigate any claim by the food business
that they had done everything they could possibly do to prevent the
offence occurring, as this is a legal defence. Even if these
matters were satisfied, the Council may still not pursue a
prosecution unless it is satisfied that the case was justified and
it was in the public interest.
How long does an investigation take?
The time taken to investigate a complaint will
vary, ranging from a few days to many months. Cases that result in
prosecution can take a year to complete.
Will this investigation help me claim compensation?
The Council will not seek to obtain or
otherwise negotiate any compensation or redress on behalf of any
complainant. If you wish to pursue a compensation claim you
should talk to an independent legal advisor. This can be done
before, after or during our investigation.
If you have purchased food that you are not
satisfied with or have concerns about a food premises
please telephone the Commercial Team on 01670 533000 or