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Primary school children, eating lunch. Wellcome Images No. AS0000149F06.

Primary school children, eating lunch. Wellcome Images No. AS0000149F06.

In 2002 and 2009 the Wellcome Library acquired the papers of food policy activist and expert Tim Lang (b.1948). The collection has recently been catalogued in detail (PP/TLA) and is now available for consultation.

Tim Lang’s archive provides an important record of the development of food policy issues, notably in the UK, and the rise of this subject to a senior position on the political, public and media agendas since the early 1980s. It reflects Lang’s increasing and extensive involvement in the field of food policy, nutrition, environment and public health from the late 1970s up until 2000. It encompasses his roles in pressure groups such as the London Food Commission, Parents for Safe Food, the National Food Alliance and the Sustainable Agriculture Food and Environment (SAFE) Alliance, as well as his activities as Professor of Food Policy and Director of the Centre for Food Policy, Thames Valley University (Wolfson Institute of Health Sciences).

Comprising distinct series of correspondence; reports and publications; talks and writings; subject files and press cuttings, the Lang archive provides a rich research resource on a myriad of food-related topics. Such as:

• Food production and preparation standards
• Food poisoning ‘scandals’, including the salmonella in eggs and lysteria food poisoning scares of the late 1980s
• Food irradiation
• Use of Bovine Somatotropin (BST), a synthesised growth hormone, to increase yield in dairy cows
• Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or “mad cow disease” and its human variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
• Food poverty and low income consumers
• School meals campaigns of the 1980s and 1990s
• Food additives, including material generated by the Food Additive Campaign Team
• Food adulteration
• Pesticides in the food chain
• Food labelling and consumer protection
• Food Safety legislation, notably the Food Safety Act 1990 and EEC regulations
• National food policy, government initiatives and regulation
• Genetically engineered and modified foods
• Effects of food production and farming methods on food safety and the natural environment
• Sustainable agriculture
• Sugar levels in processed foods

There is also a wealth of information on food trade and economics issues affecting the UK and Europe and on a global scale, notably fair trade and protectionism agreements and the retail food industry.

This collection relates and inter-links with many of the Wellcome Library’s primary and secondary source material on nutrition and diet, public health, and health education.

Author: Amanda Engineer

Image: Primary school children, eating lunch (Anthea Sieveking, Wellcome Images)

Tim Lang is currently Professor of Food Policy at the Centre for Food Policy, City Health and Community Sciences, City University.

Ross Macfarlane

Ross Macfarlane is the Research Engagement Officer at the Wellcome Library.

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