Environment Secretary Owen Paterson told the National Farmers' Union's annual conference that food business operators need to "get out there and win back the confidence of their customers" following the horsemeat scandal.
Mr Paterson said it was the "primary responsibility" of these businesses to ensure food is of the right quality and correctly labelled before it is sold.
He told the audience, "It is totally unacceptable that anyone should buy something labelled beef and end up with horsemeat. That is fraud".
"I am determined that this criminal activity should be stopped and that anyone who has defrauded the customer must feel the full force of law", he added.
Tesco today announced it would be sourcing more meat from UK producers, as supermarkets came under pressure to sell more British food in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.
The supermarket giant's chief executive Philip Clarke told the National Farmers' Union annual conference:
Where it is reasonable to do so, we will source from British producers.
As a first step I announce that from July all of our fresh chicken must come from UK farmers. No exceptions.
And we will move over time to make sure all our chicken in all our products, fresh or frozen, is from the British Isles.
Welsh Bros Foods says it is 'deeply shocked' that a sample of its frozen minced beef has reportedly tested positive for horsemeat.
Welsh Bros Foods regrets to announce that late yesterday afternoon we were informed that a formal sample of our frozen free flow minced beef has been reported to have potentially tested positive for above 1% horse meat. We have not as yet had formal confirmation on this result; however, we have taken the decision to notify our customers of this issue immediately, and issue a withdraw notice for this product.
Welsh Bros Foods are deeply shocked by this development and are working with all relevant authorities.
The firm said the affected batch was produced nearly three months ago and other samples have reportedly tested negative for horsemeat, adding: "We therefore believe at this stage that this is an isolated incident."
Following the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson announcing badger cull plans, protesters have gathered outside the ICC in Birmingham where the NFU conference is taking place.
Pembrokeshire County Council has withdrawn mince from its menus after being told a batch of frozen minced beef has potentially tested positive for horsemeat.
The mince was supplied by Welsh Bros Foods of Newport, Gwent, and was used by the council for schools, day centres and residential homes.
The council says it has also been made aware that frozen beef products supplied to Sodexo – a company providing catering services to the authority's privately-financed initiative school in Pembroke Dock – has tested positive for horsemeat.
Sodexo has withdrawn all frozen beef products from its UK catering operations.
Secretary of State at Defra, Owen Paterson, MP for North Shropshire, says sale of horse meat as beef was totally unacceptable.
He told the NFU conference in Birmingham.
"I am determined this criminal activity should be stopped."
More than three-quarters of consumers wants supermarkets to stock more food from British farms, according to a National Farmers' Union survey:
- 78% said supermarkets should sell more food from British farms
- 43% said they were more likely to buy traceable food from farms in Britain following the horsemeat scandal
A thousand people were polled by the union.
The head of the National Farmers' Union (NFU) has said farmers are "furious" about the horsemeat scandal.
Peter Kendall said that shorter supply chains and better labelling of British meat would help prevent a repeat.
He added: "Our research also demonstrates the strong demand for British-farmed products, and so retailers, processors and food service companies have a responsibility to ensure there is clear country of origin labelling on the products that consumers purchase."
Tesco has announced three measures designed to ensure that another horsemeat scandal does not happen.
Three products were withdrawn from the supermarket chain after one brand of burger was found to contain as much as 30% horsemeat in DNA tests. The measures are as follows:
- Import less meat from overseas
- Develop closer relationships with suppliers in the UK
- A new internal testing regime