Food businesses that do not comply with hygiene standards
We have powers to close premises that are an imminent risk to health. The powers to do this are under the food laws and can only be applied in exceptional circumstances such as cockroaches being found or there being no hot water supply. We must apply to a local magistrates’ court within three days of closing the business for an emergency closure order.
Becoming ill after eating in a local restaurant
If your illness lasts more than 24 hours or you have any concerns you should see your GP. Your GP may ask you to give a stool sample to check whether you have had food poisoning.
There are lots of causes of sickness and/or diarrhoea, most forms of food poisoning do not start immediately after you have eaten the affected food so you cannot always assume that it was the last thing you ate which made you ill. Some take as long as 10 days to produce symptoms.
It is extremely difficult for us to say definitely what is the cause in single cases of alleged food poisoning and for this reason we do not usually investigate them. If you were with other people who ate the meal at the same time, who are also exhibiting similar symptoms please contact us promptly. We need to investigate immediately and ask questions as to what was eaten as well as taking samples from the food business concerned.
If you leave it too long before reporting the incident we will not be able to carry out any meaningful kind of investigation. If we suspect an outbreak has occurred we will need contact details for all of the people who ate the food as well as information about what was eaten.
You may also be asked to provide a stool sample to help us identify the causative organism.
View the NHS Choices guide on food poisoning.
Making a complaint about an item of food you have bought
You need to contact us either by telephone, letter, email or a visit to us in person. We will record all contacts but are unable to investigate all complaints. However we will speak to you about it, explain what can be done (or explain why we cannot do anything). We would like to see the food item and packaging concerned but if you have returned it to the shop already then we will not be able to do anything other than note your complaint.
If we have a history of complaints about a particular food business then we will investigate the reasons for this.
Reporting dirty or untidy shops
We record all contacts by customers commenting about food businesses in the borough and will try to follow these up with an inspection of the food business concerned. We may not be able to make an inspection the same day but will, depending on the nature of the comments, either inspect as soon as we can or write to the business to inform them that a customer has contacted us.
We have a policy of never revealing the customer’s details unless the customer has given us their permission.
Finding an insect or foreign object in your food
You need to contact us either by phone, in writing, by email or visit us in person. We will record all contacts but are unable to investigate all complaints. However we will speak to you about it, explain what can be done (or explain why we cannot do anything).
We would like to see the food item and packaging concerned but if you have returned it to the shop already then we shall not be able to do anything other than note your complaint. If we have a history of complaints about a particular food business then we will investigate the reasons for this.
We will respond to all such enquiries and assist in identifying the object or insect. If a customer has suffered physical injury because of biting or ingesting something found in the food then this is a serious matter and will be dealt with by us as soon as possible.