The Food Standards Agency announced today (7 April) that it will set up a fraud task force to tackle the trade in illegal food and protect consumers. The force will consider and report on all issues that are likely to impact fraud and food and, in particular, to consider the current controls in place and their suitability to control and deter food fraud.

Dr Philip Barlow, former Associate Professor of Food Science and Technology at the National University of Singapore will chair the task force. "Food safety is of paramount importance and everyone expects that the food they obtain is of the highest quality, which in most cases it is," he said. "However, there are always a few individuals who will, for personal gain, try and pass off suspect food as meeting the required standards. The findings and recommendations of the task force will hopefully give everyone an even greater confidence in the food they consume."

The Task force will initially focus on the meat sector, the FSA said, and the lessons learnt here will be expanded more broadly to the rest of the food industry.