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Food complaints

Tell us if you have had food poisoning, visited a restaurant with poor hygiene or want to make a complaint about a food item

We investigate complaints about food premises that relate to food safety. This could include food that:

  • contains foreign bodies (e.g stones, glass, hair, plasters)
  • is out of condition (e.g mouldy, rotten, off-smelling)
  • is past its use by date and is thought to have made someone ill

We also investigate poor hygiene including:

  • people smoking in kitchens, store rooms or preparation rooms
  • pets or animals in kitchens, store rooms or preparation rooms
  • vermin or pests in food premises
  • poor levels of cleanliness in kitchens, store rooms or preparation rooms
  • poor food handling practices

Our role is to investigate complaints and deal with any breaches of food law. We cannot seek any compensation from the manufacturer/retailer of the food.

Problems we can't investigate

We will not investigate the following food complaints:

  • food past its best before date
  • slugs in unprepared fruit and vegetables (such as lettuce)
  • cod worm in fish
  • lead shot in game birds
  • struvite, which is a glass like substance formed during the canning process. It is harmless and can be dissolved when placed in vinegar
  • greenflies in salad items
  • small insects in some canned vegetables

We don't investigate these types of complaints because they are not a threat to public safety and are sometimes inherent with the nature of the food. If you encounter these types of issues then it is best to return the food to the retailer or manufacturer as you may get a refund.

How to complain

You can complete our online food complaint form. Alternatively, email or call 01354 654321.

If you are complaining about a food item, it would help if you could:

  • save the food in its original container and packaging
  • take photographs of the food problem (where possible)
  • avoid handling any foreign object - if it is embedded in the food do not remove it
  • if the food is perishable, keep it in the fridge or freezer so that it does not deteriorate and can be examined later
  • keep its receipt
  • make a note of:
    • where and when you bought the product
    • how you handled it
    • what happened after you discovered the problem

If your food is part of a pack (e.g one yogurt from a four pack), please save the other items for inspection. Do not eat the remaining products. 

We will aim to contact you within 3 working days. We'll ask you more questions and arrange for a sample to be tested.

To complain about the price of food or bad customer service, contact Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards.

Food poisoning

Food poisoning can be very unpleasant. It can be dangerous - particularly for the very young, the very old and chronically ill.

Some types of food poisoning can also be spread from person to person. 

If you think you are suffering from food poisoning, report it to your GP as soon as possible. Your GP should provide you with a stool sample kit so you can provide a sample, which they will send off for examination by a laboratory. The Council and GP is notified by the laboratory if the sample reveals a food poisoning organism is present. 

Find out how we investigate food poisoning (PDF) [1MB]

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