Complain about a food business

If you have bought some food and you’re not satisfied with its safety or you believe that a food business is unhygienic, you can make a complaint.

You can:

  • Return the food to the retailer or manufacturer. If you don’t want to make a formal complaint, this is the best option.
  • Contact us. If you think the food you bought is unsafe, please contact us straight away. Email environmental.health@dacorum.gov.uk or call 01442 228000.
  • Contact Trading Standards. If your food was past its ‘use by’ date or the quality was unacceptable, please contact Hertfordshire Trading Standards through the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506.

What will happen if I decide to complain to the Council?

  • We will ask you some questions about when and where you bought the food. If the complaint is serious and we decide to prosecute, you may have to give evidence in court.
  • If the food is perishable, please put it in your freezer (or fridge if you do not have one) until you can bring it into us.
  • Please keep the packaging and the receipt.
  • We will inspect the food.
  • If we feel that there is a problem, we will investigate.

How do you investigate my food complaint?

  • We will examine the food to find the likely origin of the contamination. If the source is a business in Dacorum, for example a retail outlet, a restaurant or a pub, the Food Safety Team will investigate.
  • If the likely source of contamination is out of the district, for example a manufacturer or farm outside the Dacorum area, the complaint will be handed over to the local authority where the contamination is likely to have originated.
  • We will inspect the premises and examine the food handling procedures.
  • If the complaint is being investigated by another local authority, our Food Safety team will be kept informed.

What happens next?

Our main concern with all complaints is to prevent anything similar happening again.

  • Businesses may introduce new controls as a result of your complaint. If this is the case we may decide to take no further action.
  • The cause of some food complaints may be hard to avoid. In these cases businesses have to prove that they took all reasonable precautions and we will take no further action.
  • We may decide to prosecute if we can prove that a crime took place and that the problem was caused by a serious breakdown in food safety standards. The maximum fine is £20,000.

We will always let you know the outcome of the investigation.

For more information

Please email environmental.health@dacorum.gov.uk or call 01442 228000 and ask for Environmental Health.

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