The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has issued a statement after it was revealed that council health inspectors had not done any food standards sampling tests over the past year.

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 have been 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 originated 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. However, they have been criticised by the Local Government Agency staff for slashing the amount of money available for testing.

Simon Blackburn, the Local Government Association’s spokesman on food, said: “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.”

In response to the revelations, a council spokesperson said: “We take our responsibilities to keep residents safe and ensure that food outlets across the borough are meeting the relevant food hygiene standards very seriously. Last year we completed a number of food hygiene inspections including high risk food environments.

“We did not undertake any food standards or food hygiene sampling in 2017/18 as sampling is complaints led. This means it is done when necessary to investigate complaints received and provide evidence of possible criminal offences.

“In 2017/18 complaints received about food standards and food hygiene were dealt with by means other than sampling, such as by premises inspections and advice and warnings to food premises. Sampling will be carried when necessary and appropriate.”