Happy birthday to the Food Standards Agency, 10 years old today.

The health and safety quango par excellence, its well-meaning but highly politicised stance on health has brought it into near-constant conflict with industry, as we report here.

It's certainly been far more provocative, in its time, than Jamie Oliver, who, in pointing out the absurdity of feeding pizza and chocolate milk to kids for breakfast, was practically hounded out of Huntingdon, West Virginia last week.

And it's been far less effective than Oliver, with a report out this week showing that his healthy school dinners were a recipe for academic success.

But as the latest news confirms, the FSA's position has clearly softened under the leadership of CEO Tim Smith and chairman Lord Jeff Rooker. Nor is this, I believe, the result of political pragmatism in the wake of a possible change of government.

It reflects the fact that the FSA has, at last, been prepared to listen to valid concerns about the cost, the limitations and the ineffectiveness of reformulation.

It could back off further, of course. In this week's issue, a leading dietician argues that the most effective way to improve the nation's health is not by reducing the sugar and satfat et al; it is by engaging with consumers (directly, via the industry and through other stakeholders) to eat more fruit and veg; and weaning the nation off its salt-reliant diet.

But is it too little too late? As the daddy of all food and drink industry quangos, its pre-eminence in the event of a new government is clearly threatened.

On the other hand, I've counted 45 other quangos in this industry, from the Rural Payments Agency to the Alcohol Education and Research Council, from the School Food Trust to the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes. It's possible it could end up with a bigger brief.

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