Reporting food safety complaints

Council’s environmental health team investigates food related complaints at premises such as cafes, take-away shops, bakeries, restaurants, supermarkets, food trucks, food stalls and retail food shops.

Investigation of a food premises can be carried for a range of concerns such as premises cleanliness, unhygienic food practices or allergen management. The sale of food from an unregistered premises can also be investigated.

If you find something wrong with your food, whether it be that you suspect it has made you ill or it may have some form of obvious physical contamination, you can report it to council's environmental health team on 1300 656 564 or

Concerns related to butchers, meat processors and seafood processors should be directed to Primesafe.

Dairy Food Safety Victoria  should be contacted to for concerns related to dairy food produced in Victoria. These include complaints relating to any dairy product manufacturer, dairy farms, and dairy product wholesalers.

What information should I provide in a complaint?

To allow us to act on your complaint as soon as possible, please provide as much information as you can. This includes:

  • the name and address of the business. 
  • the date and time of the incident/s.
  • the details of what you ate, bought, or observed – photos are useful!
  • details of any conversations had with staff or management regarding the matter.
  • your name, address, and daytime contact telephone number.

If there is any of the suspected food item left over, wrap it in clean plastic food wrap or place it in a clean container and store it safely in the fridge. If unsure, please contact council's environmental health team on 1300 656 564.

I think I might have food poisoning

If you have symptoms of food poisoning, please seek medical help. Some incidents of food poisoning can be fatal, particularly in children, the elderly and the ill. 

Incidents of suspected food poisoning should be reported to council’s environmental health team as soon as possible.  

The time between eating the food and the first symptoms can range from 30 minutes to a week or more. This means that the last meal you ate may not necessarily be responsible. It also means the suspected food item has been completely consumed or discarded, which can make confirmation of the source difficult. 

Upon reporting the incident, you may be contacted by council’s environmental health team or the local public health unit and asked to provide further information. This may include details of everything you ate or drank in the 72 hours (about 3 days) before your first symptoms.  

The only way to determine if you have been suffering from food poisoning or a food borne infection is for a stool (faecal/poo) sample to be sent to a laboratory for analysis. If determined necessary for the investigation, an environmental health officer may provide a faecal collection kit. If seeking medical advice through a general practitioner, they can arrange for a faecal sample

Find out more about food safety when eating out on this Better Health Channel page.

Anaphylaxis and allergic reactions to food

In a medical emergency, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

Treating medical professionals are required to notify the Department of Health of anaphylaxis cases that presented for treatment. Notified cases of anaphylaxis may be referred to council’s environmental health team for further investigation.

Food labels are required by law to carry essential information so that people know what is in the food they buy. This includes statements about the presence of food allergens.  

People with allergies are at serious risk unless foods are labelled correctly.

Please contact the Department of Health’s Food Safety Unit if you suspect that you have had an allergic or anaphylactic reaction to a packaged food and the label did not show that the food allergen was present.

Find out more about food allergy and intolerance on the Better Health Channel