Have you eaten at a restaurant in the Greater Phoenix area -- that includes Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Glendale, Surprise, Peoria, Gilbert, Mesa, Goodyear and other Maricopa County cities and towns -- that was dirty or where your meal made you physically ill? Did you notice what you believe to be unsanitary conditions at the restaurant including insects, debris or employees not taking appropriate precautions to guard against forborne illness? Did you find something disgusting in your food? If any of these fits your situation, then you probably should file a complaint with the Maricopa County Department of Environmental Services. That is the agency that inspects our restaurants in the Greater Phoenix area to ensure that they are following the regulations relative to food safety.
How do I file a complaint against a restaurant?If the restaurant is in Maricopa County (basically, the metro Phoenix area) you can file your complaint online at the Maricopa County Department of Environmental Services.
- Select "Food" as the category for your complaint.
- Select the type of problem you encountered. You will probably select one of these: Food Poisoning; or Improper Food Handling or Preparation; or Safety Questions (not Sick). You may only select one, so just pick the one that is the most critical, in your opinion. You'll have a chance to provide more details later.
- You will then be asked to route your question to the department that you believe will best handle it.
- You can call the phone number given, or you can start the written complaint process by registering for an account. Click on the words "Citizen Access" to start this process.
- You will be asked to provide information about the restaurant including the location and city.
- You will include a short description, just a few sentences, describing the issues causing you to report the restaurant.
- You may request that you be contacted after an inspection has been done.
Will the Health Department fine the restaurant or close it down if I file a complaint?
While Maricopa County does not doubt any report that it receives, actions are not taken solely based on customer complaints. An inspection will take place in accordance with standard procedures, any violations will be noted and the appropriate actions will be taken buy the Inspector and the Department as a result of that inspection.
How do I see the inspection reports for a particular restaurant in the Phoenix area?
In Maricopa County you can find inspection report details online. There is no charge to access this information.
Do you do a "dirty dining" report?
Each week I write a column including Greater Phoenix restaurants that had the highest number of serious violations on their restaurant inspections. You can see that here, or get the current link by subscribing to my weekly free newsletter. I also create a list, organized by zip code, of Phoenix area restaurants that were found to have the best inspections during the month. That information is obtained from information provided to me by the Maricopa County Department of Environmental Services.
What if I want to file a complaint about a restaurant elsewhere in Arizona?The regulatory agencies that are charged with health and safety in Arizona are managed by counties, not the State of Arizona. You can find the official websites of the counties in Arizona here. Once you are at the website, look for a section on environmental health or health services to find out how to file a complaint against a restaurant that is located in that county.