Tim Lang, professor of food policy at Thames Valley University MAFF's London hq is called Nobel House. A fine bust to Mr Nobel is in the foyer. It amuses me because Nobel ­ of prize fame ­ actually sold explosives and armaments. The hq was once home to ICI which also made explosives; agrichemicals were a sideline at one time. Nobel House is perhaps appropriate for MAFF since food policy is highly explosive. In spite of the Phillips Report, BSE just won't go away. French and British governments now face litigation from two French victims' families. The Food Standards Agency has been asked to advise ministers on the French connection. But how can it do this without infringing the sovereign rights of another EU member state? And what, or who, gave the French/ Spanish/Germans BSE? And if the FSA pronounces on France, why cannot the Greek agency come here? Or the Danes go to Spain? A couple of weeks ago, David Byrne the EU's consumer and health commissioner, announced his revised plans for the new European Food Authority. Clearly it will have its work cut out just on this co-ordination function. Whose abattoirs or meat are up to scratch? Agencies are sprouting all over Europe but what difference can they make? Provide evidence, they cry. But BSE is still shrouded in uncertainty and politicians can use the grey areas to hide behind. Agencies are not scientific superglue, fixing policies that are broken. They weave judgments as much as evidence. Agencies cannot disguise the lack of core food policy vision. Labour's 1947 Agriculture Act's vision lasted 30 years. Today, policy is messier; trade liberalisation plus intensification. A Royal Society for the Protection of Birds conference last week talked of only 8,000 farmers surviving into 2010. What lunacy! We need a new, integrated food policy, linking health, employment, environment, and culture. That's what the supply chain needs. It could be a really noble vision. Noble, not Nobel. {{NEWS }}