Food Complaints


What should be reported?

1. Complaints about an establishment:

  • Cleanliness/sanitation
  • Poor employee practices
  • Improperly cooked or handled food
  • Food that tastes bad; foreign material in food

Information to include: name and location of establishment, date and time of visit, nature of complaint, any other pertinent details

2. Complaints about a food product:

  • Foreign material in a product
  • Chemical taste/smell
  • Tampering

Information to include: brand name of item, where and when purchased, product code and/or expiration date (this is NOT the UPC code), nature of complaint

To Whom Do I Report?

  1. Your local health department for complaints on retail establishments such as restaurants, groceries, taverns, or mobile food units
  2. The Indiana State Department of Health, Food Protection Program, if the establishment is on state property (i.e.: state parks, state fairgrounds, Indianapolis Zoo)
  3. The manufacturer or distributor of a packaged product, or the manager of a retail facility

For Complaints of Illness

If you suspect you or your party have become ill from eating food purchased at a restaurant or food store:

Call your local health department as soon as possible. If you are still symptomatic, or if you have leftover food, the health department may ask for a sample.

Information to include: What was eaten, including beverages, condiments and dessert, symptoms, time of meal and when symptoms began, name of facility or product, date food was eaten, and number of people affected. Include doctor or hospital information if applicable. The only way to confirm a foodborne illness is by a stool sample, which can be collected by a medical professional or the local health department.

Typical symptoms of foodborne illness include, but are not limited to nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, dehydration, headache or fever. Depending on the bacterial, viral or chemical agent responsible for illness, symptoms may begin in as little as one half hour to several weeks. For more information, see the foodborne illness chart.

For additional information please contact Tami Hurlburt, Environmental Health and Food Specialist at 260-358-4833.