skip to main content

Complaints about food and food hygiene standards

UK food businesses are regularly inspected by Food Safety Officers to ensure compliance with the law but occasionally things do go wrong. The food might have something in it, which shouldn't be there, or it might smell or taste strange. You are entitled to know that the matter has been thoroughly investigated.

You can complain directly to the supplier or manufacturer of the food but once you have given them the food and packaging it will be very difficult for us to investigate.

If you bring the complaint to our attention we will deal with it as promptly as possible. We will need any food remains or the foreign object, as much of the packaging as possible and the receipt. Once you hand over the complaint it becomes our property and it may be subject to analysis, which might destroy the product. This may make it difficult for you to take private, civil action at a later date.

When we receive a food complaint we take the matter very seriously. However, investigations do not necessarily result in legal proceedings. It is not always possible to obtain sufficient evidence to show that the food business was at fault or the business may be able to claim that it had exercised "due diligence" and taken reasonable precautions to stop the food being unsatisfactory. UK food law accepts that, from time to time, in spite of the best efforts of the company, things do occasionally slip through the net.

We investigate complaints by contacting the supplier or manufacturer and, if it is out of our area, we might contact the Local Authority where the food is made. If the food business can demonstrate that they have taken reasonable precautions to stop the fault from occurring then the matter will be dealt with informally. If, however, there appears to be a serious breakdown in the control systems then legal action may be taken. A notice may be served requiring improvements to be made or the offender may be prosecuted. If it is a first offence then the Council may offer a ‘formal caution' rather than prosecute but if the company offends again both offences could be taken into consideration by the Courts.

If we decide to prosecute we would need a signed statement from you and you might be asked to appear in court as a witness. If you are not happy about this it would be helpful if you could let us know at an early stage.

Complaints about Food Hygiene Standards

If you are concerned about the standards of food hygiene at a food business in the Stroud District you can make a complaint to our department. Some of the things you may find to complain about include :

  • Poor food handling practices
  • Poor levels of cleanliness
  • Sightings of vermin or pests
  • People smoking in kitchens and food preparation areas
  • Food that did not taste as it should
  • Foreign objects in food served

Once we receive a complaint we will decide on the appropriate response. A visit will normally be made to the premises to investigate and take the necessary action to prevent any recurrence of the problem. We will acknowledge and keep you informed of our progress . Depending on the length of the investigation, and whether we take informal or formal action, you may not receive details of the final outcome straight away.

You can be assured that all complaints we receive will be treated in the strictest of confidence and complainants personal details will only be released with their permission.

If you would like to make a complaint, please contact us:

Email: environmentalhealth@stroud.gov.uk
Tel: 01453 754471

This page was last updated: 18 September 2017

Share this page