What is a food complaint?

If you purchase food from a shop or had a meal at a restaurant or cafe and found it contained something that should not be there, for example a hair or a piece of plastic, then this can be classed as a food complaint.

The Food Safety service also investigates complaints about hygiene standards in food businesses such as poor hygiene practices, dirty food premises or sightings of food pests such as mice or cockroaches.

Who should I contact?

If you have a complaint about any food or drink you have purchased you may complain to the Food Safety service at Newcastle City Council or complain to the seller direct.

If you return the product to the place of purchase you can discuss the matter with the proprietor. However, it is very difficult for the investigating authorities to deal with the complaint if you have returned the product.

You should, therefore, make a decision on what you expect from your complaint prior to complaining, i.e. money back, replacement or any other compensation. Enforcement authorities cannot deal with any claims of compensation or refunds. This is a matter between the complainant and the retailer or manufacturer.

If you bring the complaint to the attention of the Food Safety service, it will be investigated to establish the nature and seriousness of the problem. It may be necessary to liaise with another local authority as the investigation is carried out where the product was purchased.

The Food Safety service investigates complaints such as:

  • Food containing foreign bodies e.g. insects, metal, glass
  • Food which is mouldy
  • Food that is contaminated or unfit
  • Food that is past its 'use by date'
  • Complaints about the quality of the food
  • Labelling and false descriptions of food and drink

What will happen to my food complaint?

Once the officer investigating your complaint has collected the relevant information, the most appropriate action will be determined by reference to national and local guidance on food safety. You may find that your complaint has been referred to another Local Authority to investigate if it has been purchased outside the Local Authority's area or should be dealt with by another agency such as the Meat Hygiene Service.

Food Standards Agency

For detailed guidance on all aspects of food safety go to the external website FSA

Contact Us

Food Safety service, Public Safety and Regulation, City of Newcastle upon Tyne, Room 602 Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH. 
Phone: 0191 2116102
Email: psr@newcastle.gov.uk or tradingstandards@newcastle.gov.uk

Page last updated: 
12 December 2016
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