Moves to end the trade in ­illegal foods have gathered pace, following the first official meeting of the Food Standards Agency's new Food Fraud Task Force.

The team of 14 individuals from various organisations, including the British Retail Consortium, the Trading Standards Institute and the Food and Drink Federation, is set to investigate and report on all issues likely to impact on food fraud, as well as assess the suitability of current controls.

The fresh meat sector will be first to come under scrutiny, followed by the rest of the food industry over the coming months. The identification of animal by-products, inspections and audit arrangements for food businesses, as well as the suitability of penalties for criminals, are some of the key areas to be addressed by the force, which will present an interim report at the FSA's October board meeting.