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Food and Food Hygiene Complaints

Sometimes something goes wrong and food that is sold is not acceptable to the customer. Where there is a potential public health risk, our food and safety team will investigate your complaint.

These may include:

  • Unfit or grossly contaminated food
  • Foods containing foreign bodies e.g. metal, glass
  • Complaints about hygiene standards at a food premises
  • Foods which may have caused food poisoning
  • Foods which have passed their 'use by date'.

In cases where your food hygiene complaint is not a public health risk, you may be able to resolve it by contacting the owner of the food business yourself and discussing the complaint with them. They may offer you a refund and/or carry out their own internal investigation.

How to report a food safety complaint

What to do with a suspect food item

If your complaint relates to food safety, please bring the item, together with its packaging and receipt (if appropriate) to:

Customer Contact Team
Cumberland Council
Civic Centre

If you are unable to bring the item to us straight away, place it in a clean plastic bag and store it in the freezer. Do not send food items to us in the post. Please note the time, date and circumstances of the incident and the contact details of anyone who was with you.

Depending on the nature of your complaint, we may ask you to complete a witness statement and you could be called to give evidence in court. If you do not wish to do this, please notify the investigating officer.

The investigation will not seek to obtain compensation for you. To purse a personal claim we suggest you get independent legal advice. Citizens Advice can give you advice about your consumer rights, telephone 03444 111 444 or visit

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