NSW Food Authority: Investigation of Food Safety Complaints

The NSW Food Authority dispenses food safety advice to food businesses and regulates the food industry in New South Wales


June 29, 2016 By Sally Santacruz

 As noted in NSW Food Authority: An Overview‘, the NSW Food Authority dispenses food safety advice to food businesses and regulates the food industry in New South Wales. This includes investigating complaints about food or food businesses.

The NSW Food Authority partners with local councils throughout the state to ensure high standards of food safety and make sure that the food industry is aware of its responsibility to consumers. Complaints from customers are the major way that the NSW Food Authority identifies businesses who are in breach of the Food Safety Act; however, Environmental Health Officers from the food authority will annually audit every business in the state.

Food Safety Complaints That Can Be Investigated

Complaints that can be investigated include:

  • Allegations of food poisoning (food-borne illness)
  • Foreign matter in food
  • Misleading or incomplete labelling
  • Illegal sales or serving of food
  • Incorrect or unhygienic food handling, storage, transport and preparation
  • Spoilage of packaged or fresh food
  • Unsuitable or unsafe ingredients

The NSW Food Authority and NSW local councils refer complaints to each other depending on the nature and seriousness of the breach, and which organisation is best equipped to handle the complaint. Complaints about a local food business are best directed to and handled by your local council.

The NSW Food Authority monitors food poisoning complaints to identify recurring patterns, including whether the poisoning complaints involve a certain type of food, a certain food business, or group of people linked to a certain location. In these cases, the Authority may investigate further. People who are suspected victims of food poisoning should make it a priority to seek medical attention.

Food Safety Complaints That Will Not Be Investigated

The NSW Food Authority, in alliance with local councils, will not investigate:

  • Unrelated complaints (complaints not related to food for sale or food businesses)
  • Frivolous, vexatious or vengeful complaints, or complaints not made in good faith
  • Complaints that do not supply enough information about the possible breach

Is Your Complaint Not On The Above List?

If you have complaints about one of the following, contact the suggested authority on the matter:

Issues relating to the Food Standards Code (contact Food Standards Australia and New Zealand)