Food Standards Agency
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Are we what we eat?

The FSA is supporting a public debate on Tuesday 9 March 2010 that explores attitudes to food. It will consider: what we eat, what we buy, what we cook and the role of the food industry and government in shaping our attitudes towards food. You are welcome to attend the lecture, which will be held at the British Library, London.

The debate is part of the British Library’s new public debates series called ‘Myths and Realities’. This series looks at significant public and social issues, challenges some of the common myths and assumptions we make, and shows the role social science plays to explain what is happening and point the way to solutions.

The leading researchers, policy makers and practitioners debating food will include:

  • Geoff Watts (Chair) – freelance science and medical writer and broadcaster
  • Professor Anne Murcott – Special Professor of Sociology, University of Nottingham
  • Professor Martin Yeomans – Professor of Experimental Psychology, University of Sussex
  • Terrence Collis – Director of Communications, Food Standards Agency

Terrence Collis, FSA Director of Communications, said: ‘Are we what we eat or are we what we read? We often read reports in the papers about food myths and fads – eat this to lose weight, don’t eat this to prevent cancer, for example. I believe that these misleading claims, and the lazy journalism behind them, can unfortunately shape people’s diet.

‘The amount of newsprint dedicated to this misinformation is concerning, because it undermines the public’s understanding of the science behind food safety and health eating. The debate will certainly be an interesting one, and will show how vital the use of good science is in underpinning government advice on food, and the effect on people’s attitudes to food. Our business is to improve public health; and science, not newspaper sales, is at our heart. As we say at the Agency – if you want the facts on food, we’re the standard. ’

Jointly sponsored the British Library, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Academy of Social Science, the debate will also be part of the ERSC Festival of Social Science.

Get a ticket

‘Are we what we eat?’ takes place on Tuesday 9 March, between 6:30pm and 8pm at the British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB. Tickets cost £6 (£4 concessions). These can be booked via the British Library website or by emailing

See the flyer at the link below for further details.

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