Which?, Trading Standards and the Food and Drink Federation have formed an unlikely alliance to express concern at the new Food Standards Agency strategy.

The strategy, discussed at last week's FSA board meeting, shifts the emphasis of its work on to food safety, a move thought to be preparation for a potential shift of policy functions back to the government if the Tories are elected.

But the FDF and others are concerned the current brief omits the FSA's role in tackling so-called food fraud, and fear it could be downgraded if not explicitly included in the strategy document. "We hope you can reinstate this important element and statutory obligation of the Agency within the Strategy, ensuring that protecting consumers against illegal food fraud and misleading practices remains a core element and strategic objective of work going forward," said the body in a strongly worded letter to FSA chair Jeff Rooker.

"Failure to explicitly recognise this issue in the strategy, particularly in the current economic climate, would send a dangerous signal to unscrupulous traders, on-the-ground enforcement officers and the consumers that the FSA was set up to protect."