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Food hygiene and complaints

Find a food hygiene rating

Find out if a restaurant, takeaway or food shop you want to eat at or buy food from has a good food hygiene rating.

View food hygiene ratings in​ Rochdale

How to report a complaint

To report a food complaint or an issue with a food premises, please contact the Public Protection Service using the details on this page.

We'll need the following details:

  • The nature of the problem
  • If it's a hygiene issue, you'll need to send us the name and address of the business
  • A description of the affected food, along with its date code or batch number, if appropriate
  • Your name, email address and contact number

If there's an imminent risk of injury to health we can close a premises until the problems are dealt with.

Food complaints we will investigate

Not all of the following pose a risk to public health or safety. We will assess each complaint to determine the most appropriate course of action.

  • Food poisoning outbreaks or any food which may have caused food poisoning
  • Unfit or grossly contaminated food
  • Foods containing foreign objects, for example, metal or glass. Please see section below on 'foreign bodies in food'.
  • Foods which have passed their 'use by date'
  • Dirty conditions
  • Evidence of pests, for example, rats, mice, cockroaches
  • Poor food handling practices
  • Build-up of rubbish

Handling your food complaint

Please note we can't negotiate compensation for complaints on your behalf. Our investigations only cover the criminal aspect of the each case and not civil liabilities.

In cases where your food hygiene complaint is not a risk to public health or safety, you may be able to resolve it by contacting the owner of the food business yourself and discussing your concerns with them directly. They may not be aware of the issue and may be prepared to carry out their own internal investigation.

Remember the following when dealing with food complaints:

  • Avoid handling foreign objects. If they're embedded in the food, don't move them.
  • Keep the food in its original container where possible.
  • Keep any wrappings and labels.
  • If the food is perishable, keep it in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Keep any receipts as proof of purchase.

Foreign bodies in food – common food complaints

Canned food

  • Issue: mould (unlikely to be a health risk)
  • Details: canned food is free from any harmful bacteria because of the heat treatment given. Moulds are destroyed and air is removed so they can't grow. If mould is found this means the can is not tightly sealed and air has entered the can. This is usually due to denting or damage to the can during delivery, in the shop or in the home. It is extremely rare for this to indicate a manufacturing fault.
  • Action: contact Environmental Health using the details on this page for advice.

  • Issue: wasps and fruit flies (no public health risk).
  • Details: naturally associated with ripe fruit. They do not carry diseases.
  • Action: contact the manufacturer.

  • Issue: other insects (no public health risk).
  • Details: canned vegetables may occasionally contain grubs, for example in sweetcorn kernels and tomatoes. It may be impossible for the manufacturer to detect these. The canning process kills any insects that have been processed with the vegetables. Reduction in the use of pesticides on crops may contribute to this problem.
  • Action: contact the manufacturer.

  • Issue: crystals (no public health risk).
  • Details: sometimes crystals are found that look like glass. This is not uncommon in tinned salmon, for example. Certain naturally occurring elements in fish may develop into crystals during the canning process. These are called 'struvite' and are not harmful if swallowed. To check, place in vinegar and warm gently. Struvite will dissolve, glass will not.
  • Action: if glass, contact Environmental Health using the details on this page. If struvite, contact the manufacturer.

Meat and poultry

  • Issue: skin, bones, blood vessels (no public health risk).
  • Details: products made from meat and poultry may contain small bones, skin, blood vessels etc.  These may be unsightly but are normal parts of the original animal and rarely a health hazard.
  • Action: contact the manufacturer.


  • Issue: codworm (no public health risk).
  • Details: white fish may have small translucent or brown parasitic worms in their flesh that may become visible when the fish is cooked. These are not harmful and are killed during cooking. Businesses preparing raw fish for sushi or sashimi are required to make sure that the fish used has been frozen to kill any parasites.
  • Action: contact the retailer or manufacturer if the product is intended to be cooked before eating.  Complaints about ready-to-eat sushi or sashimi should be referred to Environmental Health.

Fresh fruit and vegetables

  • Issue: stone, soil, insects and slugs (no public health risk).
  • Details: these complaints are not unusual and may be difficult for growers to prevent. Greenfly on salad vegetables is increasingly common as pesticide use declines.
  • Action: wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly.

Bakery goods

  • Issue: bakery char, carbon and grease (no public health risk).
  • Details: occasionally bread and cakes may contain overcooked dough, which has flaked off from baking tins. Bits of burnt dough or carbon from trays may also come loose and stick to products. This does not necessarily indicate poor hygiene standards. Non-toxic vegetable oil, which is used to lubricate machinery, can become incorporated in dough giving it a grey appearance. Again, this is not a public health risk.
  • Action: contact the retailer or manufacturer.

Dried foods

  • Issue: insects (no public health risk).
  • Details: dried products such as flour, sugar and pulses may contain small insects such as psocids (also called book lice). These do not cause disease but can increase in numbers very rapidly and spread through dry goods in store cupboards causing nuisance. They are associated with warm, dark humid conditions.
  • Action: dispose of food affected. Vacuum out cupboards and make sure they are completely dry. Wet cleaning is not recommended. Ensure food cupboards are free from dampness and condensation and cracks and joints properly sealed. Store new dry goods in sealed containers.

Chocolate and confectionery

  • Issue: bloom (no public health risk).
  • Details: a light coloured appearance may be due to storage at too high a temperature. This is fat separation and not mould.
  • Action: return to the retailer.

  • Issue: crystals (no public health risk).
  • Details: sometimes large sugar crystals form which may be mistaken for glass. Crystals will dissolve in warm water.
  • Action: if glass, contact Environmental Health using the details on this page. If crystals, contact the manufacturer.

Advice on handling, cooking and storing food


0300 303 8871

Phone: Monday-Friday 8.30am-5.30pm.
Closed for training Monday 11am-11.30am.

Public Protection Service​​
Number One Riversid​e​
Smith Street
Rochdale OL16 1XU