Food complaints

The Commercial Safety Team investigates complaints made about food purchases and food premises. On average the section receives 100 complaints about food premises a year and 60 food complaints.

The outcome and length of time it takes to investigate a complaint will depend on the circumstances. We will keep you informed of any information we receive and action taken if appropriate. If any legal action is taken then this may involve you giving a witness statement and giving evidence in court. We do not investigate all complaints. Some are dealt with by Trading Standards (see below). We will handle any information provided to us in accordance with our Privacy Notice (PDF, 9Kb).

Complaints about hygiene in food premises

If you have consumed food or drink at a food premises in West Lancashire - like a cafe, restaurant, takeaway - and experienced poor food hygiene practices, then we can investigate the matter on your behalf. You can complain by:

If you have purchased a food item in West Lancashire and consider it to be unsafe, then we will need to see the food to establish whether there is a problem that we can investigate.

We can deal with:

  • Food which has caused food poisoning or has become contaminated 
  • Food containing foreign bodies e.g. glass, metal, wood, insects etc 
  • Mouldy food 
  • Food that is past its 'use-by' date 

We can't deal with:

  • Food purchased outside the borough 
  • Complaints about food quality e.g. over ripe vegetables and fruits 
  • False descriptions or inappropriate labelling of food and drink. These are dealt with by Lancashire County Council's Trading Standards (external link) 
  • Any claims for compensation or refunds. This is a matter between the purchaser and the manufacturer 
  • Food which is past its 'best before' date. It is not illegal to sell food after it's best before date. Best before means that the manufacturer guarantees that the food will be of best quality up until that date. 

What to do when you discover a problem with food or drink

  • Check our list of common food complaints (PDF 23kb) to see what is the most appropriate course of action 
  • Keep possession of the food and keep any receipts, labels and packaging materials 
  • Complete a Food complaints - purchased items online form  
  • Try to preserve the food or drink in its original condition. Store perishable foods in the fridge or freezer until it is collected by us or until you can bring it to the Council Offices 
  • If you are complaining about mould then place the food in the freezer, particularly if it is at the weekend

Food complaints outside the borough

If the item wasn't bought in the West Lancashire area and you aren't sure which authority to contact, use the Food Standards Agency (external link) website, which lets you type in a street name, place name or postcode to find contact details for the relevant Environmental Health team.