Safety and first aid

Making a food complaint

Food complaints are usually concerned about:

  • eating food and becoming ill with food poisoning symptoms like nausea vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps, symptoms can vary from mild to severe
  • finding an object that shouldn’t normally be in the food
  • the hygienic condition of a food business or how they are handling food
  • eating a food and experiencing an allergic reaction
  • how a food product is labelled
  • other concerns about a food products.

Who to contact about a food complaint                          

Most food complaints about:

  • food poisoning
  • a food product or
  • a food business.

need to be referred to the local government where the food was purchased, or where the business is located.

This includes any complaint related to a food product from another state or overseas.

Local governments employ Environmental Health Officers who are authorised under the Food Act and have the power to inspect and follow up on any complaint about a food business or food product within their local area. If your complaint involves a food product from another state, it will first need to be investigated by the local government where the food was sold.

Refer to the online local government directory (external site) for contact details. You can search the suburb name to find the relevant local government.

Ask to speak to an Environmental Health Officer to report your food complaint.

What information may need to be provided            

The following information is likely to be required by the Environmental Health Officer to assist with investigating the food complaint.

  1. Your name and contact phone number or email address
  2. The name and full street address of the food business where the food was purchased from or consumed
  3. The date, time and location where the food was consumed
  4. The details of the food including name, place of manufacture and any other details found on the label
  5. If there is any leftover food or if you still have the product or object as sometimes this may need to be tested if an officer determines this is warranted
  6. If you think the food made you unwell, the details of other people who ate the food and details of other foods eaten at the same time (including dips and sauces). Plus details about the date and time you started to experience symptoms, what the main symptoms were and if you, or anyone who has become ill, sought medical attention and submitted faecal specimens to a GP.

More information

Contact Environmental Health Services at your local government (external site).

Food Unit, Public Health

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

Questions? Ask your local government environmental health services