Food Complaints

Food Safety

With so many food premises operating in Bassetlaw, it is not surprising that occasionally a member of public might have a concern relating to the actual Foodstuff purchased or about the standards operated within a particular food premises.

Food Premises Complaints

Bassetlaw District Council can only investigate complaints about food premises which relate to food safety, and that are within the Bassetlaw area. If your complaint is about a food premises outside the Bassetlaw District then you will need to contact the local authority where the food premise is located.

We are unable to investigate complaints about the price of food, quality of food or poor customer service. Please contact Nottinghamshire County Council Trading Standards Department if you wish to make this type of complaint.

Things that we will investigate include:

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

Foodstuffs Complaints

We receive many complaints relating to food each year. Foreign objects in food are a common complaint but not all pose a health risk. Our guidance information provides advice on some of the most typical food complaints, together with short explanations and suggestions for the best course of action.

If you have considered our guidance and wish to make a complaint about a Foodstuff you have purchased, the following information will be of help.

Who Should I Complain To?

Your first port of call should always be the manufacturer, supplier or shop where you bought the food. A prompt complaint to the retailer or manufacturer will ensure that the manufacturer can recall any product if necessary, and will give you the best chance of having your complaint dealt with quickly.

Instances where it is appropriate to contact the manufacturer are:

  • If you are not fully satisfied with the product and you just want your money back Most large supermarket chains have efficient quality control and complaint procedures, so customers can return unsatisfactory foodstuffs and get a refund The supermarket logs these complaints and refers them to their suppliers, who can identify trends and take appropriate remedial action
  • The complaint is not of a serious nature, e.g., a part of a pea pod in a can of peas, or a "flat" carbonated drink
  • You are not sure when and where you purchased the product, or you are not sure where and how you stored it

We Will Deal With

Food complaints that pose a public health threat, such as:

  • Unfit food, e.g., decomposing meat, food poisoning (Salmonella, etc.)
  • Food that is so contaminated that it could not reasonably be eaten, e.g., heavy mould growth on cheese
  • Food which contains a foreign object, e.g., a bolt in a loaf of bread

Please note that we do not get involved in any compensation claims. This is a matter you must take up yourself with the manufacturer and the civil courts if necessary.

I Am Unhappy With The Response

If you are unhappy with the response from the manufacturer and/or believe your complaint poses a public health risk, you should

  • Keep receipts (not essential but helpful)
  • Obtain the exact name and address of where the food was bought.
  • Keep the food in the wrapper and container
  • Keep perishable food under temperature control (especially if your complaint involves decomposition or "off" smells and tastes)
  • Keep all of the food, packaging or foreign object

If you would like to make a complaint about a Foodstuff purchased in the Bassetlaw District please Make an Environmental Health Complaint.

What We Will Do To Investigate Your Complaint

We will investigate your concerns by the most appropriate means. This may mean that the complaint is referred to another local authority for investigation if the food was produced outside of Bassetlaw.

Food complaints are often complex in nature and require liaison with many parties. They may therefore take a considerable period to resolve.

Many food complaints are dealt with by the provision of advice of guidance to the food business or manufacturer. These food businesses often want to contact complainants to apologise for the incident. We will therefore ask, before we release that type of information, if you want your details to be released to the company concerned so that they can contact you directly.

In certain circumstances formal action may be appropriate. In order for us to take formal action there will have to be:

  • A public health risk
  • A good chain of evidence
  • No reasonable defence from the company concerned as to why the incident happened

The action taken will also need to comply with the department’s Enforcement Policy. If formal action is to be pursued, you will be asked to make a witness statement and may have to give evidence in court.

We will keep you informed regarding the status of your complaint and our investigation. When it is concluded we will contact you to explain what the outcome is.

Related information may be found on the Trading Standards Website

Other Food Complaints

Please contact Citizens Advice, if your complaint is about any of the following,

  • Chemical contamination of food and improper use of additives.
  • Composition of food, e.g., sausages must contain a minimum percentage of meat.
  • Adulteration of foods.
  • Labelling offences and misleading claims.
  • Quality and nature of food, e.g., Cod sold as Haddock. 
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