Hundreds of food samples collected from across Cardiff are this week being tested for horse meat as the contamination scandal continues to grow.
Cardiff council is checking meat within its own food supply chain, including samples taken from school canteen suppliers, leisure centres, tourist attractions and care homes.
Trading standards officers have also taken samples from hospitals, sports stadiums, restaurants, burger vans, butchers, corner shops, as well as wholesalers, contractors and other food suppliers.
Extra staff have been drafted in for the £20,000 testing programme, which is being carried out at the council’s Public Analyst laboratory based on Crofts Street, Roath.
Councillor Ashley Govier, cabinet member for the environment, hopes the first results of the tests will be known by the end of the week.
“It would be wrong for me not to have concerns. If there is something wrong in the food supply chain we should capture it,” he said.
On Monday supermarket giant Tesco became the latest retailer to drop a major supplier after discovering a range of spaghetti bolognese ready meals contained more than 60% horse meat.
It followed frozen food firm Findus and supermarket Aldi in finding the meat in products made by French firm Comigel, and on Monday joined them in dropping the company as a supplier.
Cardiff council said it regularly carries out hundreds of checks on various products, but has never previously specifically focused on horse meat, which can be identified through DNA extraction.
If horse meat is found, the council said it would take immediate action to remove it from the city’s food supply chain and identify the source.
Coun Govier said: “There have been a lot of headlines around issues to do with food during the last week or two so we thought it was important that we do everything we can to reassure the public in Cardiff by carrying out a series of inspections as soon as we could.
“We want the public to rest assured that no-one is exempt from these vigorous inspections, including our own suppliers and establishments.
“Over the next few weeks our officers will be collecting and testing samples from a wide variety of food sources to ensure that they meet the strict criterion placed upon them by food standards authorities.
“We take the issue of food hygiene, safety and labelling very seriously and anyone caught breaching these regulations could face a fine, prosecution and/or having their licence revoked by us.”
A regular testing regime of council food suppliers is being planned. Cardiff trading standards is also collecting samples for the Food Standards Agency, which is carrying out its own investigation.