Tim Lang, professor of food policy at Thames Valley University Lord Phillips' Report is a landmark, on a par with the Royal Commission set up to investigate food supply in time of war, back in 1904. The Government is already reviewing the lessons. MAFF, I learn, is creating a strategy Unit. Here is where it should start. First, MAFF needs to be either abolished or become a ministry of food. Rural affairs can stay in or go to environment. The Civil Service must change. The culture of watering down bad news must end. Ministers need to get the truth not what they want to hear. This should be in public and subject to dissenting voices. Phillips is scathing about the system of expert scientific committees, yet it's the backbone on which Whitehall hangs. Serve time; get a gong. The national scientific base needs to be rebuilt. The Food Standards Agency research budget needs another zero added. BSE has already cost £6bn. That's a lot of lost science. Public health voices are weak. The chief medical officer and Department of Health were already so marginal by the early 1980s that a token reform, like the consumer panel set up in 1990, looked good but had marginal impact. It was a bolt-on extra, made lively only by Suzi Leather (now deputy chair at the FSA) and we knew so at the time. The CMO and DoH roles need a complete overhaul. If the DoH is mostly concerned with healthcare, we need a new public health agency to intervene for health. Finally, a national debate must wrestle over what Phillips called "philosophy". We can either continue with intensive food and farming or, as the Swedes and others are doing, invest in better systems which are built on public and environmental health. Currently, we judge food by its cheapness. Cheap food is actually expensive. {{NEWS }}