Food complaints

Find out how to report a concern with food or a food business, or report a case of suspected food poisoning.

Reporting a food safety concern

If you have a concern about a food product or a food business you can make a complaint, or seek advice from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) or a local council.

Complaints about food

Complaints about food for sale can be investigated.  For example, you could make a food complaint if: 

  • you find foreign objects in food
  • food has incorrect or misleading labelling
  • food is being sold past its use-by date
  • you suspect there is an undeclared allergen in the food.

To make a food complaint, contact MPI by:

Complaints about a food business 

Local councils inspect most types of retail food businesses such as cafes, restaurants and takeaways.  To make a complaint about poor hygiene, cleanliness and unsafe food handling practices in a retail food business, contact the local or district council in the area where the food business is located. Ask to speak with an environmental health officer.

Reporting suspected foodborne illnesses

Foodborne illness – or food poisoning – is the name for illness caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or drink. Most is caused by harmful bacteria getting into food.

If you, your family or friends become sick, seek medical attention from a doctor (your GP).  

If you or someone you know suspect the cause of an illness is connected with food that has been purchased and eaten you can report this to a health protection officer at your district health board's public health unit. 

Who to contact

If you have questions about food complaints, email

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