Preston and Lancashire County Council Trading Standards Officers are playing a large part in the investigation into the horsemeat contamination scandal.
Scientists based at the Docklands in Preston are testing samples for Trading Standards and hundreds of concerned businesses. They are playing a key role in identifying the full range of products that have been contaminated with horsemeat, and contributing to the national investigation led by the Food Standards Agency.
Beef products from around the county have been urgently DNA tested at the council’s Public Analysts laboratory. Lancashire Trading Standards is one of 28 services across the UK selected to take part in the FSA programme.
Lancashire County Council say tests for Lancashire-based businesses are being prioritised, though samples have been sent from as far afield as Gibraltar. The demand for tests has become so high that dozens of extra testing kits have been ordered and staff are working at weekends to try to meet the demand from businesses wanting to check their own products.
Deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, County Councillor Albert Atkinson, said: “We have a big part to play in the current investigation with our officers being engaged on two fronts – Trading Standards are visiting businesses to take samples and carry out inspections at meat suppliers to ensure products can be traced to their source.
“At the same time our Public Analysts laboratory is very busy, being only one of seven laboratories in the country accredited to carry out the tests which retailers have been asked to do by the Food Standards Agency.
“I’d like to reassure people we’re doing all we can to assist with the Food Standards Agency investigation, to ensure that consumers in Lancashire and further afield know exactly what they’re eating.”
The county council’s Trading Standards officers regularly carry out inspections and sampling of meat products at establishments where they are manufactured.
Information on the investigation into horsemeat in beef products can be found at the Food Standards Agency website
If you have any suspicions about the use of any undeclared ingredients in food products, please contact Citizens Advice Consumer advice line on 08454 04 05 06.