Tip of the Week

It is very stressful and worrying when you receive an alleged food poisoning complaint.  If it is not dealt with quickly and professionally, it can be very damaging to your business, especially if the complainant heads over to Facebook or other social media channels to advertise their complaint.  So, what steps must you take and how do you protect your business?

Firstly, pre-empt such a complaint and have a set procedure in place. But if the worst happens, here are a few tips –

We recommend that all alleged food poisoning incidents are referred to and dealt with by the Manager.  Only ever have one person liaising with your customer.  All staff should be aware of your procedure.

When an incident occurs, it is vital you act swiftly and professionally.  Follow the guidance on the Food Safety Guru Incident Form or collect the following information from your customer –

  • Customer’s name, mobile number and email address
  • Symptoms shown, start date, time and duration
  • Date and time they ate in your establishment
  • What they ate in your establishment
  • Who ate with them, what dishes did they eat and are they suffering from any symptoms
  • Did they feel anything was wrong during their visit
  • What else have they eaten over the last few days

Then explain that you take their complaint very seriously and you will undertake a full investigation.

To investigate –

  • Check all food safety records are in order and note any anomalies (fridge/freezer temperatures, core cooking temperatures, cooling times and temperatures, kitchen cleaning schedule)
  • Identify if there were any problems with any of your procedures
  • Identify if any other similar complaints have been made. Also check your social media accounts to check there are no additional complaints
  • Contact Food Safety Guru to go through your findings

Keep in contact with your customer and tell them the outcome of your investigation.

If you establish that there is a problem, you will need to alert the Environmental Health Inspector but if you are one of our clients, we will advise you on this.


Investigate first – DO NOT ADMIT LIABILITY.

Weekly Food Fact

Did you know that Duck eggs have more albumen (which makes cakes and other pastries fluffier), plus more Omega-3 fatty acids and are richer than hens eggs.

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