Food product complaint

  • 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

What you need to know

We prioritise food safety investigations based on the level of risk to public health. We cannot address anonymous complaints, and your personal information will be kept confidential.

In many cases, it's best to resolve the issue by discussing it with the manager of the shop, takeaway, or restaurant. Businesses are usually concerned about customer satisfaction and will make efforts to resolve any problems. It's recommended that you try this approach before contacting us.

If you ask us to investigate a complaint about food you purchased, an officer may need to collect the item and visit your home to assess how the food has been stored. However, in most cases, you will be requested to bring the item to the Council offices for investigation.

We will ask you to sign a 'declaration of surrender' when you hand over your food complaint. This is to say that you understand 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 many foreign bodies in food that can look alarming but naturally occurring and are usually harmless. These are called 'intrinsic foreign bodies' see the 3 common complaints documents for more information.

You will need to tell us:

  • the name and address of the business
  • details of your complaint
  • whether you've told the business about your problem

Report a food product complaint

If you wish to report a food product complaint, please fill in our online form, after which we will receive an application number. If you provide us with an email address an automated acknowledgment of your request will be sent to you.

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