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Food and food premises complaints

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We investigate complaints made about food hygiene in food premises and food that you think is unsafe.

Please note: We do not investigate all complaints. Some are dealt with by Lancashire County Council's (LCC) Trading Standards Team.

We will investigate

  • Food hygiene in food premises (e.g. dirty conditions, unhygienic food handling by staff etc.)
  • Food which may be linked to food poisoning or has become contaminated
  • Food containing foreign bodies e.g. glass, metal, wood, insects, etc. 
  • Mouldy food
  • Food that has expired its 'use-by' date

We can only investigate if you have retained the foreign bodies in the food, the receipt for the purchase of the item (including receipts from online delivery platforms e.g. Just Eat, Deliveroo, Uber Eats), and the labels and packaging materials from the food.

Photographic evidence is NOT sufficient. 

You need to bring all of the above described items into the Town Hall, Lancaster Road, Preston, PR1 2RL at the earliest opportunity in order for us to be able to investigate fully.

We will NOT investigate

  • Food purchased outside the Preston City Council district - you will need to contact the Local Authority in whose area the food was purchased.
  • Food which has expired its 'Best Before' date.  It is not illegal to sell food after its best before date.  Best before means that the manufacturer guarantees that the food will be of best quality up until that date.

The below matters should be reported to Citizens Advice Consumer Services who will offer any relevant civil advice, record the details on a national complaints database, and refer the matter on to the most appropriate Trading Standards Service.  They can be contacted on telephone number 0808 223 1133 (option2), or via the online form on their website following this link - Reporting to Trading Standards - Citizens Advice

  • Any claims for compensation or refunds.
  • Complaints about the quality, description, labelling or composition of food or drink. These matters should be reported to Citizens Advice Consumer Services on telephone number 0808 223 1133 (option 2), who will provide any relevant civil advice, record the details of the complaint, and will refer the matter on to the most appropriate Trading Standards Service.
  • Food that is not of the declared weight

How to make a food complaint

1. Keep evidence of the food

If your complaint is related to a food item you must:

  • Keep possession of the food
  • 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 you are able to bring it into the Preston Town Hall. If you are complaining about mould then place it in the fridge, not the freezer
  • If you do keep any food complaint in the fridge, make sure it can't contaminate any other food

Please note: we can't take food that has been taken from the bin, as is likely to contaminate it with all sorts of bacteria. 

2. Report is to us

Make a food complaint

What happens next?

The outcome and investigation time will depend on the nature of the complaint.

We will keep you informed of any information we receive and action taken if appropriate.

If any legal action is taken, you may need to give a witness statement and evidence in court.

Will I get compensation?

No, our priority is public health. We cannot act on your behalf to claim compensation. However, you may take private action and seek advice from a solicitor.

You can deal with food complaints yourself by reporting them to the shop that sold you the food, or to the manufacturer (customer care telephone numbers are sometimes found on the food packaging). They will often carry out similar investigations to a local authority for their own quality and safety assurance procedures and they may compensate you.

False complaints

It is a criminal offence to make false complaints about food.

We have received a number of cases where individuals have reported false complaints to receive compensation. We will contact the police if we think a false complaint has been reported.

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