Food FAQ's


What do I have to do if I want to open a food business?

Your first step should be to contact Planning Services in order to determine whether planning permission is needed. Once the planning requirement has been clarified we would encourage you to contact the Food Safety Team in Environmental Health Services as early as possible on 01268 882200. They will offer further advice on the Food Safety legislation that you will be expected to follow. If it would be useful, a site visit can be arranged. Food businesses in Castle Point are required by law to register details of their premises prior to them opening. A Registration Application Form can be sent to you or downloaded from our website. This needs to be completed and returned to Environmental Health Services’ Food Safety Team at Castle Point Borough Council at least 28 days before you intend to start trading.


Does the Council run any Food Hygiene Training courses?

No, the Council does not run any Food Hygiene Training courses, however please see below local trainers that you may wish to contact

Food Hygiene Matters
Bowtell House
254c High Road
Telephone/Fax 01268 754594

Thinking Food Safety
Dragon Enterprise Centre
28 Stephenson Road
Leigh on Sea
01702 513162
Basildon Borough Council
The Basildon Centre
St Martin’s Square
SS14 1DL
01268 533333

Training courses can also be sought via the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), their website is or contact them on 0207 9286006. This includes training in languages other than English, and Intermediate and Advanced Food Hygiene Training.

Alternatively please email us (including your name and address) at or telephone us on 01268 882200 or write to/visit Environmental Health Services at the Council Offices, Kiln Road, Thundersley, Benfleet SS7 1TF for further assistance.


I have a complaint about a food premises: to whom should I complain?

Environmental Health Services’ Food Safety Team will investigate all appropriate  Food and Food Premises Complaints  within the district.


How can I make a complaint about an item of food I have bought?

If you have a problem with an item of food you can report it to the Council's Food Safety Team for an investigation. The team deals with many cases of this kind, including foreign bodies in food, mouldy food and food which has expired its 'use-by' date. If you have a receipt for the food you should keep it. You will have to pass over the food item and the packaging to the Team. Complaints about food should be notified to them as soon as possible as the longer you wait, the harder it is for them to prove that the foodstuff was in that state when it was sold to you. If the food is perishable, please refrigerate or freeze it if you cannot get it to them quickly. If there is a foreign body in the food e.g. glass/metal, it is important that the foreign matter is not removed from the food and is handled as little as possible.

The Team’s prime concern is to ensure that there is not a recurring problem; however in some circumstances legal proceedings may follow from the investigation, at which you might be required as a witness. In any instance they cannot guarantee a replacement or compensation from the manufacturers. Alternatively, you may wish to complain to the retailer who will be able to investigate on your behalf; in these instances you would be advised not to hand over the food until you have been contacted by the manufacturers or the importers.


I think I may have food poisoning.

We recommend the first step is to check with your doctor so they can assess your symptoms and advise accordingly. Your doctor may require you to give a faecal sample so that the type of food poisoning can be identified. If food poisoning can be confirmed, Environmental Health may be able to carry out some work to attempt to investigate the source. In the majority of cases, food poisoning will not have been caused by your last meal, as incubation periods tend to be longer than this. Environmental Health Services may require information of what foods you have eaten and where you have eaten them in the last 7-10 days.

It should be noted that without formal conformation of food poisoning, the council will be unable to take direct action against a food business regarding this type of unconfirmed allegation and we cannot become involved in claims for compensation. Even if we do receive confirmation, the cause of an isolated incident is extremely difficult to prove. However, if you report the incident to the council, we will be able to record any information that you can provide and the Environmental Health Service will then be able to determine whether further investigatory work is required. It may be the case that isolated unconfirmed incidents of this type are initially recorded for statistical / information purposes.

Please telephone us on 01268 882200 or visit Environmental Health Services at the Council Offices, Kiln Road, Benfleet, SS7 1TF.