Food and food premises complaints

Page updated on: 22/01/2024

We investigate complaints made about food hygiene in food premises and food that you think is unsafe.

Please note: We do not investigate all complaints. 

We will investigate

  • Food hygiene in food premises (e.g. dirty conditions, unhygienic food handling by staff etc.)
  • Food which may be linked to food poisoning or has become contaminated
  • Food containing foreign bodies e.g. glass, metal, wood, insects
  • Mouldy food
  • Food that has expired its 'use-by' date

We will not investigate

  • Food purchased outside the Carmarthenshire County Council district
  • Any claims for compensation or refunds. This is a matter between the purchaser and the manufacturer
  • Complaints about food quality e.g. over ripe vegetables and fruits
  • Food which has expired its 'Best Before' date. It is not illegal to sell food after its best before date. Best before means that the manufacturer guarantees that the food will be of best quality up until that date.
  • Food of poor quality
  • Anonymous complaints
  • Complaints which can not be supported or substantiated by the complainant. (Complainants should be prepared to support any given complaint with a Witness Statement)

How to make a food complaint

1. Report is to us at Environmental Health Carmarthenshire 

Make a food complaint

2. Keep evidence of the food

If your complaint is related to a food item you must:

  • Keep possession of the food
  • Keep any receipts, labels and packaging materials
  • Try to preserve the food or drink in its original condition
  • Store perishable foods in the chiller or freezer. If you are complaining about mould then place it in the fridge, not the freezer
  • If you do keep any food complaint in the fridge, make sure it can't contaminate any other food

Please note: we can't take food that has been taken from the bin, as it is likely to be contaminated it with all sorts of bacteria.

What happens next?

The outcome and investigation time will depend on the nature of the complaint.

We will only keep you informed of significant developments and any action taken if appropriate.

Information provided will be assessed by an Environmental Health Officer and will be appraised in terms of public health risk. Each complaint is considered on its own merit and the Investigating Officer will determine the level of intervention required and the most appropriate course of action to follow.

We are unable to provide a response to all complaints received. Issues addressed directly or used as a source of intelligence, leading to ongoing surveillance or to be addressed during the course of an impending intervention are unlikely to receive further correspondence

If any legal action is taken, it is highly likely that you will need to give a witness statement and evidence in court.

Will I get compensation?

No, our priority is public health. We cannot act on your behalf to claim compensation. However, you can take private action and seek advice from a solicitor.

You can deal with food complaints yourself by reporting them to the shop that sold you the food, or to the manufacturer (customer care telephone numbers are sometimes found on the food packaging). They will often carry out similar investigations to a local authority for their own quality and safety assurance procedures and they may compensate you.

False complaints

It is a criminal offence to make false complaints about food.

We have received a number of cases where individuals have reported false complaints to receive compensation. We will contact the police if we think a false complaint has been reported.