Food safety concerns

The Environmental Health Service will investigate concerns regarding food safety whether that be from food and drink which has been purchased or consumed, or the premises selling food. 

Whilst the vast majority of food and drink we consume is produced safely there are times when things go wrong.

Our involvement and response will vary dependant on the nature of the concern. Our investigation will consider whether there is a risk to food safety, and if so we will take appropriate action to ensure the food business operator and staff address any problems identified.

Food Premises Concerns

If you have visited a food business in East Lothian and are concerned by poor standards of cleanliness, or other hygiene matters you should contact us. The type of response provided will be dependent on the nature of the concern. 

Sometimes we will just record lower priority concerns for consideration during future visits rather than carry out an immediate visit. We tend to prioritise our response to concerns where there is serious risk of food contamination in food handling and preparation areas.

Contaminated Food

If you are supplied with or purchase food and drink which is contaminated e.g. foreign body, bad smell, or taste, then you should contact us. We will need to have any of the food which you still have, including any packaging, proof or purchase (receipt), and information regarding where and when purchase took place, and discovery of the concern occurred.

Sometimes further testing of food is required to identify the nature of the problem, and where the contamination occurred. This can involve lab tests being carried out, and also involvement of other local authorities in the investigation of the concern. This can mean that some investigations can take a long time.

Whilst many people would simply return the product to the retailer for a refund, notification of concerns to Environmental Health can assist in identifying a wider problem with the safety or quality of a particular food or drink product. Our involvement will not prevent you pursuing any concerns you have with the supplier of the food (however we will not do this on your behalf).

Sometimes these concerns can result in formal legal action being taken against a business. This may require you to be involved in providing legal statements, and being cited as a witness if the case is taken to court.