Food complaints – what to do if you suspect a problem with food products
In Australia, investigation of food complaints is undertaken by state and territory authorities or your local council.
This is because the Food Standards Code is enforced and implemented in each state and territory by the relevant body.
Problems with food can include things like foreign material e.g. a bit of plastic in food or glass in cereal; or you might think a meal has made you sick.
Thankfully problems like this are relatively uncommon but when they do occur Australia has a food recall system in place to deal with them.
What should I do if I suspect a problem?
Don’t eat the food product you are concerned about. Report the problem to the relevant local food enforcement contact and provide:
- your name, address and phone number
- the brand name, food product name and manufacturer
- the size and package type
- package codes and dates
- name and location of the store and the date you purchased it.
Remember to keep the original container or packaging and if relevant, the foreign object (e.g. metal washer that you found in the food).
Refrigerate any uneaten portion of the food.
What should I do if I fall ill?
Food poisoning can be particularly serious in children, the elderly, pregnant women and people who are immuno-compromised (e.g. cancer and AIDS patients).
If you or someone under your care falls ill, it is important to seek early medical attention. Tell your doctor if you think that your illness is related to food you have eaten.
Remember that many food poisoning bugs take a while to take effect. Often the last meal may not be the culprit, as sometimes food poisoning symptoms may not appear for many hours and sometimes days.
A recall is action taken to remove food from distribution, sale and consumption, which may pose a health and safety risk to consumers.
FSANZ coordinates food recall information to state and territory authorities, other government agencies and industry.
Food and health authorities advise on whether the recall of a food product should occur and in most cases industry initiates the recall process.
For further information about food recalls contact FSANZ on (02) 6271 2610 or email email@example.com