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Procedure descriptions

Food safety - Submit a consumer complaint

Food, cosmetics and consumer products must be safe and must not mislead you.

Complaints about these products should always be made to the company first. The company usually provides compensation for justified complaints and puts an end to the grievances.

Responsible department

each lower food supervisory authority

Lower food control authority is,

  • if you live in a city district: the city administration
  • if you live in a rural district: the Landratsamt (district administration office)



  • You have health problems after eating a food product, using a cosmetic product or handling consumer goods (e.g. baby dummies, toys, cutlery, textiles, food packaging, household cleaners) or
  • You feel deceived by their composition, their presentation or by advertising claims, for example about their origin or quality or
  • You suspect other violations of food law.
  • Also, if you discover hygiene deficiencies in food establishments such as restaurants, retail shops, bakeries, butcher's shops or suspect that food law regulations are being violated there, you should report this.
  • The establishment does not heed your complaint or the incidents become more frequent.


You must submit your consumer complaint to the competent body in person, in writing or by telephone.

You can usually also submit the consumer complaint anonymously. You can agree on confidentiality with the food control authority.

The competent body records the consumer complaint. A food inspector will then carry out an inspection in the establishment where you bought the product. She or he will try to take a comparison sample from the same batch. If no comparison sample is available there, the food inspector will look for a suitable comparison sample in another shop. If necessary, the test will be carried out without a reference sample.

The competent authority will also record any information about establishments where hygiene deficiencies are observed. In these cases, too,a food inspector will then inspectthe establishment concerned and, if necessary, take various suspect samples.

The competent body sends the complaint and comparison samples or the suspect samples taken during a factory inspection to the competent Chemical and Veterinary Investigation Office. The latter analyses the sample and draws up an expert opinion on the basis of food law.

If necessary, the food control authority responsible for the manufacturer or seller will take further measures on the basis of the opinion. For example, it can

  • take further samples,
  • carry out further investigations at the business
  • initiate a fine or criminal proceedings, or
  • in the case of serious hygiene deficiencies, (temporarily) close the business.

If the offending product may cause harm to the health of other consumers, the food control authority will immediately initiate appropriate measures to prevent this. These may be, for example

  • a ban on the circulation of the product,
  • a withdrawal of the affected products or batches,
  • a public recall from consumers, or
  • a Europe-wide information of the other authorities.


promptly, so that adverse changes to the complaint sample can be ruled out as far as possible

Required documents

as much documentation as possible on the identity of the sample, such as proof of purchase, advertisements, original packaging



Note: The Authority will not reimburse you for any costs incurred by you for the appeal sample such as the purchase price.


Further information on official food monitoring in Baden-Württemberg can be found on the Internet pages

Release note

21.06.2023 Ministerium für Ernährung, Ländlichen Raum und Verbraucherschutz Baden-Württemberg

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