Local health departments in Tampa, Florida and Charlotte, North Carolina have begun testing food at restaurants near the sites of their respective presidential conventions months ahead of each conventions’ start date.


With funding from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, county health inspectors in Florida’s Hillsborough County (host of the Republican National Convention) and North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County (the Democratic National Convention) will be testing food samples for possible contaminants, including “substances that might be used by terrorists,” according to a report published by the Charlotte Observer

Mecklenburg County officials already sent samples of a variety of foods to laboratories across the country during a three-day testing period earlier in May. Out of safety and confidentiality, health departments are not revealing which restaurants they have inspected, but are concentrating on eateries in the areas surrounding the event halls.

A Mecklenburg County official told the Charlotte Observer that restaurants have the right to refuse inspectors, but so far none have.

The Republican National Convention will be held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 27-30. The Democratic National Convention occurs the following week, September 3-6, at the Time Warner Cable Arena and Bank of America Stadium.