Make a food complaint

Where was the food purchased from?

If the food was not purchased from a food business in Oldham, you need to contact the Local Authority where the food business is located.

If you are not sure which Local Authority the food business is in, you can look it up on the Food Standards Agency website.

How to make a complaint to the Food Safety Team

You should make a complaint to the Food Safety Team if you have found food which:

  • Is unfit for human consumption e.g. it has deteriorated or has become contaminated accidentally to an extent that the food would be harmful if eaten.
  • Contains a foreign object which poses a serious health risk, for example glass or metal
  • Contains insects which might suggest a public health problem at the place of retail sale, catering or manufacture for example cockroaches, but not insects like greenfly or caterpillars which are naturally occurring and commonly found in fruit and vegetables.

Follow these three steps:

  1. If you still have the food you should keep it refrigerated or frozen in case the officer wants to inspect it.  Also keep any packaging and receipts.
  2. Phone the Food Safety Team on 0161 770 2244.
  3. A Food Safety Officer will discuss the most appropriate course of action. They may decide to take no further action with the complaint.

The officer may wish to examine the complaint and you may be asked to sign a declaration of release form and must be willing to abide by the decision the Authority reaches at the conclusion of its investigation.

You may also be required to provide a witness statement. 

Advice for other food complaints

If your food complaint does not fall into any of the above categories you could:

1. Return it:

  • For non pre-packed fresh foods you should return the food and packaging to the shop from which it was purchased and ask to see the person in charge.
  • For pre-packed foods you should write to or telephone the manufacturer. The address details will be on the product label. Explain the nature of your complaint and ask them to carry out an investigation and to write to you with their explanations of how the problem arose.

2. Take private legal action:

You may wish to take private legal action against the retailer/caterer/manufacturer.

You should discuss this matter with a solicitor.

If after pursuing the matter with the relevant business you are still not satisfied with their response, you could contact the Food Safety Team.  They can contact the company and will note their failure to satisfy you, which can be taken into account with any further dealings we have with them.

What action will be taken against the food business?

The Food Safety Team can take the following action:

  • Have an informal discussion with the owner
  • Take formal action, or
  • Use statutory notices and/or issue formal cautions, or
  • Prosecute and/or close the premises


The Council will not negotiate for compensation on your behalf; you will have to consult a solicitor.