Food Inspections and Complaints
Qualified food officers from the council are required to carry out regular inspections of food businesses to make sure food is being handled and produced hygienically and the food is safe to eat. They will also identify any foreseeable risks of food poisoning or injury which might arise if the food is eaten.
Visits are carried out, as far as possible, without prior notification.
The inspectors will carry out the following checks:
- the condition of your premises
- the kinds of food you make or prepare
- how you work and the training given to food handlers
- your food safety management system.
Our inspectors will always try to resolve any problems informally but where there is a risk to public health it may be necessary to resort to formal action. This could involve either the service of legal notice, prosecution, or in extreme cases closure of the business.
If you have a food hygiene and safety complaint you can report it to us.
Before we can start our investigation, you will need send us the following details:
- full name of the food including any brand name
- a receipt for the purchase price if possible
- manufacturer's name and address
- batch number and/or durability date
- where the food was bought
- date when the food was bought
- when the defect was noticed
- details of the defect
- state if you will be handing the food in to us or if you want it to be collected and
- if you have any objections to your name being released to the manufacturer.
We will investigate
- Unfit or grossly contaminated food.
- Foods containing foreign bodies, for example metal or glass.
- Complaints about hygiene standards at a food premises.
- Foods which may have caused food poisoning.
- Foods which have passed their 'use by date'.
Other grounds for a complaint
In cases where your food hygiene complaint is not a risk to public health or safety, you may be able to resolve it by contacting the owner of the food business yourself and discussing the complaint with them. They may offer you a refund and/or carry out their own internal investigation.
Return the food to the shop, together with the packaging and receipt and ask to speak to the person in charge. In some cases, you may need to write or telephone the manufacturer.
Explain the nature of your complaint and ask them to investigate it. Ask them to write to you with their explanations of how the problem arose.
Food alerts are issued by the Food Standards Agency to inform customers about any problems associated with food, and specific action being taken to address the issues.