Health inspectors for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council have not done any food standards sampling tests over the past year, it has been revealed.

Recent research has brought to light the fact that 33 councils, including the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, had not carried out the tests, meaning businesses could be getting away with selling meat and other products that are not as they appear, as well as selling foods without declaring any potentially deadly allergens.

The revelations come from an investigation by ITV’s Tonight programme, which revealed that national watchdog, the Food Standards Agency, which is responsible for preventing a repeat of the horsemeat scandal of 2013, gave councils no money to fund food sampling in 2017-18.

The same agency gave councils £2.2million between 2013-14 for testing in response to revelations that horsemeat was being sold as beef in supermarket burgers and ready meals.

Simon Blackburn, the Local Government Association’s spokesman on food, told the programme: “Local authority budgets have essentially been halved since 2010. The number of trading standards officers we employ across the UK is around half of what it was in 2010.”

Criticism also came in from Professor Chris Elliott, who led the official enquiry into the horsemeat scandal, who described the lack of funding for environmental health inspectors and trading standards officers as ‘extremely worrying.’

In response to the criticism, Michael Jackson, of the Food Standards Agency, told the programme that food safety is a top priority for the watchdog and that they were ‘confident they were doing a good job’ and they were ‘looking to further improve the system’.

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council were approached for comment and while they did not issue a formal statement, a spokesperson said they had been carrying out food hygiene inspections as they always would.