Unsafe/Unsuitable Food

The Town's Environmental Health Officers can investigate complaints regarding food bought from a food business or supermarket within the Town if you believe it to be:

  • substandard;
  • contains a foreign body; or
  • caused you to become ill.

Contact us to discuss the matter with one of our Environmental Health Officers.


Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is caused by consuming food or drink that's contaminated with either very high numbers of pathogenic bacteria, viruses or toxins, or with parasitic organisms.

If someone becomes ill, with symptoms such as diarrhoea or vomiting (or both), and they suspect that it may have been caused by food, one of the Town's Environmental Health Officers can investigate the complaint.


Food poisoning symptoms vary, depending on the cause.

People with food poisoning may experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • nausea
  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting
  • stomach pains or cramps
  • sweating, fever or chills
  • headache
  • lethargy

The symptoms can vary from mild to very severe.

Onset of food poisoning symptoms can occur within 2 to 3 hours of eating the food or take as long as a week in the case of some viral infections. 

Some groups of people are at greater risk to the effects of food poisoning than others.

These vulnerable groups include the elderly, young children, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.

What should you do if you suspect you have food poisoning?

  • Consult your doctor (it is particularly important for vulnerable people such as the elderly or young children to seek immediate medical attention);
  • promptly report your illness to your local government Environmental Health Officer;
  • consult your family doctor for treatment and to request analysis of faecal/stool specimens;
  • drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration;
  • cover and refrigerate any food or drink suspected of having caused the illness; they may be needed for laboratory analysis to determine what caused your illness;
  • as far as possible, do not handle or prepare food while you are ill;
  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap (preferably liquid type) and warm water and dry with a paper towel before handling food and after going to the toilet; and 
  • if you work in the food industry, you are required to notify your employer of any symptoms. Do not work until you have been symptom free for 48 hours.

What do you need to tell the Environmental Health Officer?

Providing the following information will help an Environmental Health Officer investigate your food poisoning allegation:

  • the types/names of food consumed, as well as the date and time;
  • details of the location (restaurant, function or event) where you believe you consumed the contaminated food including the street address
  • any information about the people who may have become ill and any additional information such as their names and contact details, their symptoms and when they started to become ill;
  • what the affected person/s ate, including dips and sauces; and 
  • if you are aware of any left-over food.


Last Updated: 07/10/2013