Food Safety Complaints

Coronavirus update April 2020: This service is limited to investigating matters of significant public health risk. Urgent work will be actioned, including food incidents, outbreaks of food poisoning or infectious disease, and intelligence received regarding potential public health risks. 
Food businesses to notify us if their activities are changing.


Food poisoning

If you have been affected by food poisoning and require advice, please contact our food safety team on 01903 737755. For medical advice, contact your doctor or NHS Direct on 111.


Food premises complaints

The food safety team can only investigate complaints about food premises which relate to food safety, and that are within the Arun District. If your complaint is about a food premises outside of Arun you will need to contact the appropriate local authority by  finding a local authority. Things we will investigate include:

  • People smoking in kitchens, store rooms or preparation rooms
  • Pets or animals in kitchens, store rooms or preparation rooms
  • Sightings of vermin or pests on food premises
  • Poor levels of cleanliness in kitchens, store rooms or preparation rooms
  • Poor food handling practices

The Environmental Health team will deal with food complaints that pose a public health threat. These can be found in the  list of foreign bodies.doc [doc] 40KB  along with guidance on what action you should take. If there is a complaint that is not listed and you are unsure please contactus on 01903 737755  and a food safety officer will advise you on the matter. The department will not get involved in any compensation claims as they are a civil matter which you must take up with the manufacturer and courts if necessary. You are advised to contact Citizens Advice consumer service  for further information.

Environmental Health will deal with:

  • Unfit food, e.g., decomposing meat, food poisoning (Salmonella, etc)
  • Food that is so contaminated that it could not reasonably be eaten, e.g. heavy mould growth on cheese
  • Food which contains a foreign object, e.g. a bolt in a loaf of bread

If you have a complaint about any of the following you need to contact  West Sussex County Council Trading Standards .

  • Chemical contamination of food and improper use of additives
  • Composition of food, e.g. sausages must contain a minimum percentage of meat
  • Adulteration of foods
  • Labelling offences and misleading claims
  • Quality and nature of food, e.g cod sold as haddock
  • The price of the food or poor customer service


Making a complaint

If you have any food safety concerns, please use our eform to report them to us.

  • Keep receipts (not essential but helpful)
  • Obtain the exact name and address of where the food was bought
  • Keep the food in the wrapper and container
  • Keep perishable food under temperature control (especially if your complaint involves decomposition or "off" smells and tastes)
  • Read the label for "best before" and "use by" dates and the instructions for use. If you use food that is out of date, or in a different way from that stated by the instructions, you can expect problems
  • If you are unhappy with the response from the manufacturer and believe your complaint posed a public health risk, contact the Environmental Health Service
  • Be tempted to handle or pull out any foreign object found in the food - leave it in place.
  • Put the food in a place where further deterioration or contamination could take place (e.g. keep it in the fridge but separate from other foods).
  • Throw away any of the food, packaging or foreign object.

Environmental health and formal action

In order for the Environmental Health Service to take formal action there will have to be:
  • A public health risk
  • A good chain of evidence
  • No reasonable defence from the company concerned as to why the incident happened.
The action taken will also need to comply with the  Environmental Health Enforcement Policy.pdf [pdf] 160KB . If formal action is pursued, you will be asked to make a witness statement and may have to give evidence in court. If the Council does not take formal action, we will contact you explaining why. We will also ask if you want your details to be released to the company concerned so that they can contact you directly.