Reporting a Complaint to the Health Department

What should be reported?

1. Complaints about an establishment:

  • Cleanliness/sanitation
  • Poor employee practices
  • Improperly cooked or handled food
  • Food that tastes bad; foreign material in food
Information to include: name and location of establishment, date and time of visit, nature of complaint, any other pertinent details

2. Complaints about a food product:

  • Foreign material in a product
  • Chemical taste/smell
  • Tampering
Information to include: brand name of item, where and when purchased, product code and/or expiration date (this is NOT the UPC code), nature of complaint

To Whom Do I Report?

  1. Your local health department (i.e.: Marion, Allen, Vanderburgh) for complaints on retail establishments such as restaurants, groceries, taverns, or mobile food units
  2. The Indiana State Department of Health, Food Protection Program, if the establishment is on state property (i.e.: state parks, state fairgrounds, Indianapolis Zoo) or if the food product is manufactured, packaged, stored, or repackaged or transported for distribution in Indiana.
  3. The manufacturer or distributor of a packaged product, or the manager of a retail facility

For Complaints of Illness

If you suspect you or your party have become ill from eating food purchased at a restaurant or food store:

Call your local health department as soon as possible. If you are still symptomatic, or if you have leftover food, the health department may ask for a sample.

Information to include: What was eaten, including beverages, condiments and dessert, symptoms, time of meal and when symptoms began, name of facility or product, date food was eaten, and number of people affected. Include doctor or hospital information if applicable. The only way to confirm a foodborne illness is by a stool sample, which can be collected by a medical professional or the local health department.

Typical symptoms of foodborne illness include, but are not limited to nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, dehydration, headache or fever. Depending on the bacterial, viral or chemical agent responsible for illness, symptoms may begin in as little as one half hour to several weeks. For more information, see the foodborne illness chart.

Submit a Complaint Electronically to the Indiana State Department of Health

Complaint Form for the Food Protection Division

When filing a complaint, please provide as much detail as possible about the location of the complaint, when the activity occurred, and what happened.

Note: The information you submit on this form may be considered public record and subject to disclosure, upon request. **All fields are required.

Consumer information:
Your full name
State Zip code
Day telephone #
Email address
Complaint about?
If yes, what were your symptoms?
Include: Date/Time of meal(s)?
Date/Time of symptom(s)?
How long were you sick?
Did you see a healthcare provider?
If yes, name:
Was a stool sample collected and analyzed?
Complaint information:
Name of facility food was purchased
Name of food product involved
Location of food facility
State Zip code
Did you save a sample of the food to submit for testing?
Are there unopened containers of the same food product available to submit for testing (control sample)?
Did you save the packaging of the food in the original package?
Has the local health department been contacted?
If yes, which local health department and who did you speak with?
Are there any other details you want to include such as, UPC codes?