Department of Health

Making a complaint about a food product or food business

Key messages

  • Information on making a complaint about a food business.
  • In Victoria all food premises are registered and inspected by local council.

Who to contact

In Victoria, food premises such as supermarkets, fast-food outlets, cafés, restaurants, food trucks and food stalls, are required to be registered under the Food Act 1984 with, and inspected by, their local council. Some premises are not registered by local council, for example, butchers and meat processors are licensed with PrimeSafeExternal Link and Dairy Food Safety VictoriaExternal Link .

The Food Safety Unit at the Department of Health doesn’t investigate complaints about food businesses. Complaint investigations are the responsibility of local council environmental health officers, however there are occasions where the Food Safety Unit may take on a coordinating role. This includes complaints that may result in a food recall – for example, the presence of food allergens in a packaged food where the label does not declare the presence of the food allergen.

If you wish to lodge a complaint about any of the following issues in a Victorian food premises, please contact the local council environmental health unit where the food premises is located:

  • suspected food poisoning
  • foreign object in food
  • unhygienic food handling, storage, transport or preparation
  • unclean food premises
  • presence of food allergens in a meal despite the consumer advising the food business of their allergy and requirements
  • food handler not knowing what food allergens are in the business’ meals
  • spoilage such as mould growth
  • incorrect or incomplete food labelling, such as the failure to include the presence of food allergens
  • the sale of food from an unregistered food business.

To find the right council to refer your complaint to visit the Victorian Know Your Council websiteExternal Link and enter the food premises’ name and/or address details. The website will identify the responsible council for the premises and give you the council’s contact details. If there is a need for a food recall the council will contact the Food Safety Unit.

If in doubt, please contact the Food Safety Unit at or call 1300 364 352.

Complaint referral

If you have a complaint about an interstate food business you will need to lodge your complaint with the relevant regulator in that state or territory. If you need assistance with this you can email the Food Safety Unit, who can either advise you who the relevant regulator is or refer your complaint to the relevant food regulator.

The Department of Health is bound by privacy and other relevant laws when it comes to protecting and sharing your personal information. For further information, view the department’s privacy policyExternal Link .

Seeking compensation or reimbursement

The Food Safety Unit cannot act on your behalf to get reimbursement of the cost of the food, compensation or damages and it cannot provide legal advice. Members of the public are advised to obtain their own independent legal advice on such matters.

Reviewed 20 September 2022


Contact details

Food Safety Unit

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