The food and drink industry has always served up verbal ammo for parliamentary hopefuls pressing flesh outside Tesco during an Election. Thus one of the early campaign features traditionally sees an army of would-be MPs plundering this magazine for statistics to spice up their speeches. Nothing wrong with that. Yet this year a more sinister trend is emerging which could mean headaches for the industry long before Election day. It's one thing for them to ask us if the Hinduja brothers enjoy late night shopping at Asda, or whether the salad onions in the Co-op hypermarket on the Isle of Arran are cheaper than those at Tesco in Bolton. But when, like this week, eager backbenchers in search of a vote-grabbing headline try to resurrect the Rip-off in grocery saga with a string of ridiculous allegations, the warnings are clear. So it will please many in grocery to hear the new IGD chairman restate that organisation's mission as the body which provides a balanced view of the industry to the world at large and to misguided MPs in particular. There may be cynics in other bodies who sneer at Rob Knight's assertion that IGD has "grown up, and is at the very heart of grocery." Yet anyone with a semblance of knowledge of the chequered history of food associations will see the validity of his claim. IGD insists it is not a lobby group. OK. But it has emerged from the restricting cocoon of academia to become a respected voice increasingly heeded by the more responsible in Westminster. Meanwhile, in broader terms, it's doubtful if grocery has ever boasted a more efficient band of specialist trade bodies. All the more reason, therefore, for them to be as one in the communications process. This is no time for playing trade politics and promoting individual sectoral interests. For if the antics of certain sitting members are anything to go by, grocery's communicators will need to be more proactive than ever this spring. Anything less and it's back to the tabloid frenzy of 12 months ago. Clive Beddall, Editor {{OPINION }}