How to Complain about Food

All complaints that are brought to our attention about food premises, or food which has been purchased from premises in the Borough will be investigated by officers in environmental health. Contact environmental health on environmentalhealth@darlington.gov.uk or 01325 405111. You can also visit the customer services centre in the Town Hall. An officer will respond to your request within one working day.

Complaints about food that present a public health risk should be notified to us as soon as possible as the longer you wait, the harder it is for us to prove that the food was in that state when it was sold to you. Keep any receipts and packaging and keep the food in the refrigerator or freezer - we will make arrangements to collect it. Most food complaints do not present a public health risk and Food Safety officers have prepared guidance illustrating those that are a public health issue [pdf document].

We will not seek compensation on your behalf. If your wish is just to get a refund or compensation you should contact the retailer yourself, or seek legal advice.

If the complaint is about conditions at premises, we will make a visit and interview the proprietor to decide if the complaint is justified and if further action is necessary, in line with our enforcement policy.

What to do if you think you have been made ill

If you think that you are suffering from food poisoning you should visit your GP who may arrange for tests. Doctors who suspect that a patient may be suffering from food poisoning must notify the local authority. Officers working in the Council’s environmental health section then interview the patient to try to find out where the illness may have come from and, where necessary, prevent its spread.

If you are a food handler and you are ill, you must tell your employer. Because symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting may indicate that you have a food poisoning organism which you could pass on, it is important that you do not handle food until your symptoms have stopped and a further 48 hours have passed before going back to your food handling duties.