A Martian landing in Piccadilly on Tuesday morning, and buying a certain downmarket daily rag, could have been forgiven for jumping into his flying saucer and heading back to the stars. Poison in food strikes four million' screamed the front page banner headline, with a smaller, subsidiary line proclaiming a UK alert as record numbers fall sick'. Sensationalist? Sure. Irresponsible? Er, probably. But that was the way a certain tabloid, obviously with the circulation wars in mind, chose to portray the Food Standards Agency's campaign to cut food poisoning cases by 20% by 2006. But then, the tone had been set by the FSA itself when it revealed that it had mailed 250,000 sick bags to restaurants and catering establishments to highlight the perils of poor hygiene. More than five million Brits were hit with food poisoning last year, a figure which is probably just the tip of the iceberg given the likely hundreds among us who did not report "little tummy bugs" to our hard-pressed GPs. Of course, we have seen campaigns of this kind before. The Food and Drink Federation has, appropriately, organised food safety weeks for some time, and there have been other, similar drives to get over the importance of general handling practices once the products pass through the checkout. Yet, surprisingly, as this issue went to press, there were some who were questioning the FSA's shock, horror approach. Putting aside that newspaper's stance on the subject,we believe that desperate figures require desperate measures. The FSA's tell 'em as it is approach on this and other issues is refreshing and justified. The Grocer welcomed an independent Food Standards Agency, despite cynics in many areas. And we see no reason to change our mind. The agency is one of the best notions to come from the New Labour ideas machine. On this issue, its critics are wrong. Clive Beddall, Editor {{OPINION }}