Making a food safety complaint
If you are sold or supplied with food which is unacceptable, or you are concerned about hygiene practices in a food premises, please contact Public Health & Protection Services.
The types of complaints that we can deal with include:
- foreign bodies in food. This could include insects, pieces of glass, plastic, metal or other substances.
- food that has "gone off". This can be submitted to the Public Health Laboratory for microbiological examination
- food that has caused food poisoning
Please note that it may not have been the last food eaten by you that has caused your illness.
Most bacteria have an incubation time of around 12 to 72 hours after eating before causing food poisoning symptoms. The most likely ‘culprit’ is therefore food that was eaten either the previous day, or up to three days before. It can be even be as long as a week to ten days before symptoms develop, in some cases.
Customer concerns about standards of hygiene or practices
More information on ‘Food poisoning’ can be found by clicking on the link on the right hand side.
Complaints about food quality, e.g. sour milk, false descriptions or inappropriate labelling of food or drink are usually dealt with by Northamptonshire County Council’s Trading Standards Officers via
The aims of our investigations are:
- to protect public health
- to identify any offences and prevent them from recurring
If making a complaint about food, we will need to know the following:
- when and where the food was bought
- what is wrong with the product and how the problem was found
- the condition and type of packaging
- what you did with the food after purchase, before discovering the complaint condition
In order to investigate your complaint we will need the food and, if possible, the original packaging.
- Investigations take time. If samples are sent to a laboratory for examination or analysis, it may be several weeks before the results are received.
- We will not be able to return the food to you once it has been surrendered to us for our investigation.
- Not all investigations will result in the prosecution of the food business or manufacturer, even if an offence has been committed.
- If a prosecution does take place, you should be prepared to make a statement and possibly attend court.
What we cannot do
We cannot obtain any compensation for you or a refund. That is a civil matter between you and the food business.