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
  • Mouldy food
  • Food that has expired its 'use-by' date

We will not investigate

  • Food purchased outside the Preston City Council district
  • Any claims for compensation or refunds. This is a matter between the purchaser and the manufacturer
  • Complaints about food quality e.g. over ripe vegetables and fruits
  • False descriptions or inappropriate labelling of food and drink.
  • 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.
  • Food that is not of the declared weight
  • Food of poor quality

How to make a food complaint

1. Report is to us

Make a food complaint

2. 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. 

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. Unfortunately, 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 give false complaints about food. There have been cases where individuals have reported false complaints to try and get compensation. We will contact the police if we think a false complaint has been reported.