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John Krebs

The scientist who steered the Food Standards Agency through a turbulent five years on the role of experts in a hyperdemocratic age, openness in public life, and what the state can do to prevent obesity

By Alun Anderson   January 2006

 Back in 1999, when John Krebs went to see Frank Dobson, then secretary of state for health, about a possible job as the head of the planned Food Standards Agency (FSA), Dobson said, “I can’t understand why you would want this job. People tell me it is a poisoned chalice, but I have looked carefully and I can’t see the chalice anywhere, only the poison.”

Small wonder: Britain was at the time still mired in one of its worst food crises. Despite expert claims that British beef was “perfectly safe,” by the end of 2000, more than 80 people had…

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