Dr Gary A. Kearney, Laboratory Liaison Manager with safefood, offers some tips on dealing with a food complaint, essentially advising on how to recognize when hygiene standards do not meet safety standards, when food isn’t fit for consumption, who to complain to, and what to do if you believe you have suffered food poisoning.
Always be vigilant to ensure that the person preparing your food isn’t handling raw meat, or fish, and then other prepared meals without hand washing. Cross contamination could result in a serious bout of food poisoning. Hand washing is absolutely key to alleviating the risk of food poisoning. Also ensure that:
- Hot food is piping hot
- Ready-to-eat food is NOT in contact with raw meats or fish
- Fridges are cold
When eating out in a restaurant, buying fresh food in a supermarket, or anywhere that food of any kind is sold, if you need to complain, start with the person serving you. If you don’t feel satisfied with the response, ask to speak to a manager. If you have eaten food you did not prepare directly, which results in food poisoning, contact your doctor.
Make a note of when and where you purchased the suspect food, when you first fell ill and what the symptoms were. If you still have any of the suspect food, put it in a sealed container in either the fridge or freezer as appropriate. Try to keep any labels or any packaging associated with the food product. Also, contact your local environmental health officer who will investigate the issue. If other people report illness associated with similar products or premises, your report will highlight a potential food poisoning outbreak.