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Complaints About Food

The Council's food and safety team investigate complaints about food and drink bought in the borough, including foreign bodies in food, mouldy food and unfit food.

Complaints about ingredients or labelling of food are dealt with by Staffordshire County Council's Trading Standards Department

Food complaints are investigated to try and establish the cause of the problem and to prevent a recurrence.

Investigations can take several weeks to complete and can involve a number of organisations including other local authorities and food manufacturers.

The food and safety team can't arrange refunds for your food as our purpose is to investigate the cause of the contamination and where necessary take action to prevent a similar problem occurring to others, ensure food safety and not to get involved in compensation claims.

It is your decision whether or not to pursue the food complaint through the food safety team or to return it to the food business to request a refund. If you allow us to investigate your complaint, we will not be able to return the food to you.

An investigation may range from visual examination and identification of a foreign object to in-depth microbiological analysis of the food. The food complaint may be sent to a laboratory for analysis and officers may visit the premises where the food was prepared or sold to review practices and anything of concern.

Deciding whether the complaint requires further investigation is based on the risk to health and need for public protection.

To report a food complaint you should:-

  • Be able to provide details of the complaint including the nature of the complaint which is to be investigated, and where the item was purchased. Proof of purchase will also be requested if you have it.
  • Contact the food and safety team directly by completing the online form.  
  • Once your complaint is allocated to an officer of the food team they will arrange with you for the food to be collected either from your home or where the complaint is located for further investigation, they will also give you advice regarding your complaint.   This may include how to store the items to help us with the investigation.

We recommend that you speak to an officer before bringing the complaint directly to the Castle House as this may hinder the investigation.  If you are unable to make immediate contact with the Council you should store the food in a secure place and if the food is perishable it is recommended that you keep the food in its packaging, bag it and and store it within your freezer. 

Any of the details you give including your personal details will be kept confidential, but you will be asked to sign a form to confirm if you would like your details to be released to the food business at the end of the investigation in case they wish to contact you directly.  You may also be asked to make a witness statement if your complaint results in legal action being taken against the food business.

If you require any further information please contact the Food and Safety Team 


Last updated 2 December 2019

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