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Coronavirus: Updates and information

Find out what support is available, how to offer help, and how to look after your wellbeing. Please continue to follow official NHS and government advice. Our offices and customer service centre remain closed at this time.

Report a problem with a food premises

If you complain about the conditions or practices at a food premises, we’ll investigate. We’ll visit or contact the business to discuss the problem.

When prioritising complaints we consider the severity of the problem, the frequency of previous complaints, responses to problems raised on previous inspections, the premises’ current food hygiene rating, and our level of confidence in the business.

We follow the Food Standards Agency’s guidance, as well as our Enforcement Policy and associated procedures.

We investigate high-risk problems as soon as possible. These carry a significant or ongoing risk to public health, or suspected serious breaches of the law. High-risk issues include:

  • Sightings of rats, mice, cockroaches and other food pests within the food premises
  • Poor food-handling practices or conditions giving rise to significant risk of food contamination
  • Complaints of food contamination that might need a product recall or withdrawal

For less serious medium-risk problems we’ll contact you within three working days. Medium-risk problems include:

  • Poor structural cleanliness in kitchens or preparation rooms
  • Food-handling practices that might lead to a risk of food contamination, such as not washing hands after handling money
  • Food not protected from contamination
  • Food past its ‘use-by’ date

We usually report low-risk problems to the business, asking them to investigate and address the issue. These problems present little risk to public health. We keep a record of the complaint, so we can consider it at the business’s next inspection. Low-risk problems include:

  • Minor points of unsatisfactory cleanliness outside of food preparation areas, such as dirty cutlery or tables
  • Food not being served at the correct temperature
  • Staff not wearing gloves or hats – these are not required as long as hands are clean and hair is tied back

If after reading this you want to report a problem with a food premises, do so on the Food Standards Agency website – they will pass it on to us.

Report a food problem on the Food Standards Agency website

Provide as much detail as you can, including your name and contact details, the name and location of the business, and the date and time you witnessed the problem.

The information you provide is confidential, and is necessary in case a decision is made to take any formal action.