The Food Safety Section receives and investigates all complaints associated with food safety and unhygienic practices at food premises each year.
Complaints are received in respect of foreign bodies, microbiological and chemical contamination, composition, labelling, unhygienic premises and practices, suspected sources of food poisoning, structural repair, pest infestation and smells.
Food complaints are accepted at every area office whether the premises concerned is located in another area of Aberdeenshire.
Complaints concerning food purchased or a food premises located in another local authority will also be accepted at every area office. The complaint will then be referred to the appropriate authority or the complainant will be given the relevant contact details.
The purpose of complaint investigations is to:
- Assist in protecting public health by ensuring that food offered to consumers is safe to eat
- Resolve problems which pose a risk to public health and/or compliance with food standards and labelling requirements
- Prevent any recurrence of the complaint
All complaints are treated as confidential unless permission to reveal a complainant's name and address is given. It is important that you give your name and address to the investigating officer in order that we can respond personally on the outcome of the investigation.
When a complaint is lodged the investigating officers will need to know as much as possible about the complaint.
- Reseal food and put it in the refrigerator or freezer as necessary
- Do not tamper with the food and leave any foreign body in the food for examination
- Keep the food in the original container if at all possible
- Keep all packaging and labelling for examination
- Keep all evidence of purchase, such as a receipt
Once a food complaint has been received an officer will make contact and arrange to collect the food. This may be at the area office or at your home.
You will be asked a number of questions relating to where and when you bought the food, when you found the complaint, effects of eating the food, how the food was stored, whether you are willing to give evidence.
We will try to establish the source and cause of the complaint and the investigation may take several weeks. We may have to contact the Aberdeen Scientific Services Laboratory to examine or analyse the subject of complaint, contact the retailer, supplier, distributor or manufacturer of the product or liaise with another local authority.
You will be notified at the end of the investigation with regard to our findings and decision.
Please note that Aberdeenshire Council does not undertake to seek compensation for complainants. If you feel entitled to compensation you should contact the retailer or manufacturer directly or seek legal advice.
We will only investigate complaints about food premises which relate to food safety. You may wish to view our common complaints booklet (PDF 110KB) for clarification on common complaints that are not considered a public health matter. We will not investigate complaints about the price of food or poor customer service which should be directed to the Trading Standards Service.
Things that we will investigate are:
- People smoking in kitchens
- Pets or animals in kitchens
- Sightings of pests or vermin on a food premises
- Poor levels of cleanliness in food premises
- Poor food handling practices