Report a food complaint

If you buy food from a shop or have a meal at a restaurant or café and find it contains something that should not be there, such as a hair or a piece of plastic, then this may be investigated as a food complaint.

The council investigates food complaints as part of its role to protect public health.

The council also investigates complaints about hygiene standards in food businesses such as poor hygiene practices or sightings of food pests.

What should I do if I have a food complaint?

We will investigate:

  • food that may have caused food poisoning
  • food containing certain types of foreign bodies and mould
  • complaints about hygiene standards in food businesses
  • food that has been sold beyond its "use by" date

We will only investigate complaints where there is a risk to health. Although certain situations are unsightly, such as a hair in your food or insects found in vegetables, often there is no risk to health from these and you should contact the seller.

If you return the product to the place of purchase, you can discuss the matter with the owner/manager. We can only carry out a formal investigation if there is good evidence of a food safety offence. We will investigate any complaint where there may be a risk to public health.

We can't deal with:

  • claims for compensation or refunds, this is a matter between the complainant and the retailer or manufacturer
  • food that has already been returned to the seller or shop

For the following matters please contact Hampshire County Council:

  • Complaints about food quality, for example sour milk, over-ripe fruit and vegetables.
  • False descriptions and/or inappropriate labelling of food and drink.
  • Food and drink that has been tampered with, for example added water or fat.
  • Food that is beyond its 'best before' date.

Please contact Hampshire County Council Regulatory Services, Trading Standards, Montgomery House, Monarch Way, Winchester, SO22 5PW. Telephone 08454 04 05 06.

Report a food complaint

You can make a complaint online by selecting the button below:

Make a complaint about a food premises

Alternatively, you can report a food complaint by telephoning our Customer Service Centre on 01256 844844 or by writing to:

Environmental Health Team
Civic Offices
London Road
Basingstoke
Hampshire
RG21 4AH

What will happen to my complaint?

The investigating officer will need to know:

  • where and when the food was bought (preferably supported by a receipt)
  • how the problem was discovered, and by whom
  • what ill effects the consumer has suffered. If food poisoning is suspected, it must be confirmed by your GP (for more information on food poisoning please visit our food poisoning page)
  • whether you are prepared to support the investigation in taking legal action. This may involve providing a statement, and/or giving evidence in court

Once the investigating officer has collected the relevant information, the most appropriate action will be determined by nation and local guidance on food safety.

The whole investigation process should take no more than one month. However, investigations can be prolonged if a food analysis has to be carried out.

If your complaint relates to food/premises outside of the borough we will refer your complaint to the relevant local authority.

Will my name and address be disclosed?

Some companies request the complainant's details, but these will not be disclosed without your consent. Please note that we cannot conceal the complainant's identity if legal proceedings are taken.

Contact details

Environmental Health team

If you have an enquiry about environmental health, send a message to the Environmental Health team

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