The Food Safety Team also investigate food complaints made by members of the public. This page explains what we can do about unsatisfactory food.
The Food Safety Team investigate complaints made about food purchases and food premises. We do not investigate all complaints. Some are dealt with by Trading Standards. The outcome and length of time it takes to investigate a complaint will depend on the circumstances. In any event 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.
Complaints About Hygiene in Food Premises
If you have consumed food or drink at premises in our district and experienced poor food hygiene practices, then we can investigate the matter on your behalf. We can investigate issues of concern that may present serious food safety hazards.
Complaints About Food Purchases
If you have purchased a food item 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 has expired it's 'use-by' date.
We can't deal with:
- Food purchased outside the district. We will arrange for the food complaint to be transferred to the relevant enforcing authority.
- 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 Ceredigion County Council's Trading Standards Team.
- Any claims for compensation or refunds. This is a matter between the purchaser and the manufacturer.
- Food which has expired it's '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.
On discovering a problem with food or drink:
- Keep possession of the food.
- Contact the Department as soon as possible on (01545 572105).
- 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 until it is collected by us or until you bring it into one of Ceredigion County Council's District offices. If you are complaining about mould then place it in the fridge, not the freezer. This is because freezing mould can kill it (unlike freezing bacteria which just stops them growing but doesn't kill them). Call the Department and we'll advise you what to do with it.
If you do keep any food complaint in the fridge, make sure it can't contaminate any other food. Certainly don't put it in the bin, then retrieve it as we won't be able to take it - the bin is likely to contaminate it with all sorts of bacteria and we wouldn't be able to take formal action following any microbiological analysis.
As a point of information, people should also be aware that it is a criminal offence to make up complaints about food. There have been cases where individuals have attempted to pass on malicious complaints to us in the hope of receiving compensation. The police are routinely informed of any cases where this is suspected.