Complaints and comments

How to complain about, comment on, or compliment the Food Standards Agency, and how to report food poisoning or other food-related complaint.

Reporting food poisoning or other food-related complaints

The Food Standards Agency is responsible for food safety policies and legislation. Food safety officers, based in local authorities, are responsible for enforcing food safety and standards rules in most food premises, such as restaurants and takeaways.

If you want to complain about poor hygiene practice in a food outlet, or food poisoning that you think resulted from eating food from a restaurant or other food premise, contact your local food safety team. Find your nearest food safety enforcement team.

Complaints about the Food Standards Agency

Receiving complaints and compliments is important to the Food Standards Agency, as they give us a valuable insight into how we are doing, helping us know what we're getting right and what we can improve on. Even the best organisations will sometimes get things wrong. Where this happens, we encourage you to let us know. We will try to resolve any problem quickly, and explain what we have done and why.

You should let us know if:

  • you believe we have not met any of our statutory obligations
  • we have failed to live up to our own service standards, for example if there have been undue delays in replying to correspondence
  • you believe that we have not acted properly or followed the right procedures, for example in the conduct of public consultations, or in our procurement of goods and services
  • you have not been able to access our information or other services because they are not available in a suitable language or format
  • the conduct of any of our staff or Board members has fallen short of your expectations

If you are dissatisfied with any decision or policy that the Food Standards Agency has made, please contact us so we can explain how that decision or policy was reached. If, after receiving our explanation, you believe you have grounds for a complaint, you should follow our complaints procedure.

Our complaints procedure

Most concerns or complaints are best and most quickly resolved by talking to the person or team directly concerned. If you need to find the person that deals with a particular subject area, please use our A-Z contact list at the Contact Us section.

If your concerns cannot be resolved informally with the person or team concerned, you can make a formal complaint by contacting the Complaints Co-ordinator:

FSA Complaints Co-ordinator
Food Standards Agency
Correspondence, Openness and Parliamentary Branch
2C Aviation House, 125 Kingsway
London WC2B 6NH
tel: 020 7276 8622
e-mail: openness.team@foodstandards.gsi.g[email protected]

Our service standards

If you write to us with a complaint, we will acknowledge your letter within two working days of receiving it. We will write to you with a full reply within 20 working days of receiving your complaint or, if this is not possible, we will explain why and say when you will get a full reply.

If you're still unhappy

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of our investigation of your complaint, you can write to us to ask for a further review of your complaint. This review will be adjudicated by a senior person, normally the Chief Executive, who will work to the same service standards above.

If you are still dissatisfied after the conclusion of our complaints procedure, you can ask for your complaint and its handling to be investigated by the Ombudsman. To do this, you must write to a Member of Parliament (this does not have to be your local MP) asking that they refer your complaint to the Ombudsman (the telephone number for the House of Commons Information Office, where you can get information on contacting your MP, is 020 7219 4272). Usually, before you complain, the Ombudsman expects you to have first put your complaint to the FSA through our complaints procedure. If you are in any doubt about whether your case is suitable for referral to the Ombudsman, contact the Ombudsman's helpline on 0345 015 4033 for guidance.

Compliments and other comments

We are also very pleased to receive compliments about the Food Standards Agency or any of our staff, as they highlight areas of good practice and acknowledge the hard work of our staff.

You may also wish to make a comment about the Food Standards Agency or our staff that isn't a complaint. You may, for instance, have an idea of how we can improve our service in a particular area. Such comments are always welcome and can be very helpful.

Please forward any compliments or other comments to the Complaints Co-ordinator, using the contact details above. We will always acknowledge your comments.