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Food complaints

No matter how good a manufacturer or supplier of food is, there will be times when something goes wrong and the food sold is not acceptable to the customer. This guide will help you take the most suitable action.

How to make a food complaint

For relatively minor problems, it is best to complain directly to the place you purchased the food from, without involving Environmental Health or Trading Standards.

We will investigate food complaints that pose a risk to public health (e.g. where food is contaminated and could not reasonably be eaten, may not be safe, makes you ill or contains a foreign object).

To make a complaint please contact our food team. You will need to surrender the food item to us to assist our investigation, please note that once surrendered we may not be able to return the item to you.

Any action taken will be with regard to Runnymede Borough Council's pdf icon Enforcement policy [122kb].

Surrey County Council Trading Standards

Trading Standards investigates chemical contamination, improper use of additives, labelling offences and misleading claims quality and nature of food (e.g. cod sold as haddock or chicken containing excess added water). 

Important points when making a complaint


  • keep all receipts
  • get the exact name and address where the food was purchased
  • keep all the food in its original packaging
  • keep perishable food in the refrigerator or freezer
  • read the labelling carefully ('use by' / 'best before' dates and instructions for use).


  • be tempted to handle or pull out any foreign object found in the food - leave it in place
  • put the food in a place where further deterioration or contamination could take place.

We cannot assist with food compensation claims.

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