Food complaints

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

We also investigate reports about hygiene standards in food businesses.

Who should I contact?
If you have a complaint about any food or drink you have purchased in our Borough you may complain to us, to Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Department or to the seller direct.

To assist consumers we have produced an information sheet detailing some of the most common food complaints, details of why they occur and advice about the action that you should take.

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. a refund, replacement or 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 our attention, we will investigate the complaint 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.

If your complaint occurs on a weekend when our offices are closed please place any food item in the freezer to preserve it in the same state as when you identified it. This will enable us to carry out a more effective investigation.

We investigate complaints such as:

  • Food containing foreign bodies e.g. insects, metal, glass
  • Food which is mouldy
  • Food that is contaminated or unfit

Trading Standards will deal with complaints such as:

  • Food that is past its 'use by date' (unless the food is 'unfit' and not safe or suitable, as defined by law, for human consumption. If this is the case please report to us)
  • Complaints about the quality of the food
  • Labelling and false descriptions of food and drink