Don’t accept unfit food or poor hygiene practices.
You have a right to safe food whether you’re eating out in a restaurant, ordering food to go or doing your shopping.
If you’re not happy with the standard of hygiene in a food business, you find that food isn’t fit to eat, or you are unhappy with a food label, you should make a complaint – either to the food business, or to the FSAI.
Complaints about food businesses will be investigated by inspectors working on our behalf. In order to investigate your complaint, we will ask you for your name and contact details so that the inspector can reach you if they need more information; and so that they can give you feedback on the investigation. Your name and contact details will not be given to the food businesses.
If you are making a complaint about a food, it helps if you provide us with as much information as possible. For example, where you bought the food, the manufacturer’s name and address, the best-before or use-by date and the batch code.
What to look out for
Hygiene is poor if:
- the shop or restaurant is visibly dirty
- staff handle raw meats or fish and then other ready-to-eat foods without washing hands
- staff have dirty hands or smoke near food
- staff handling food also handle money or other goods without washing hands or removing gloves
- cloths are visibly dirty or are used on a number of different surfaces
Food isn’t fit to eat if:
- it appears to be contaminated with chemicals such as disinfectants or detergents
- it contains a foreign object such as hair or insects
- hot food isn’t piping hot
- meat such as chicken is pink in the centre
- ready-to-eat food is in contact with raw meats or fish
- fridges are not cold
- the food smells ‘off’
A food label is wrong if, for example:
- there is no list of ingredients
- allergenic ingredients are not clearly indicated
- there is no 'best before' or 'use-by' date (these are required on most products)
- the information is misleading in some way
Who should you complain to?
- Start with the person serving you
- Talk to the manager
- Contact an environmental health officer in your local Health Service Executive office
- Contact us
What should you do if you think you have food poisoning?
If you suspect you have food poisoning you should contact your G.P. The symptoms of food poisoning can occur days after eating contaminated food. You may suffer nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhoea and/or a high temperature.
Make a note of when and where you purchased the suspect food, when you first felt ill and what your symptoms were. If you still have any of the suspect food, put it in a sealed container and store it in the fridge or freezer.
You may also contact your local environmental health officer. If other people report illness associated with similar products or premises, your report will help highlight a potential food poisoning outbreak.
Food premises are inspected by environmental health officers (EHOs) of the Health Service Executive who also investigate food complaints on our behalf. All details provided on the ‘make a complaint’ form or to the FSAI Advice Line are fully confidential and are required only for the purpose of follow-up by the EHOs investigating the complaint.
Unhappy with the FSAI?
Information about making a complaint about the FSAI.
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