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University dons beat celebrity chefs in food book award

* 19 March 2004 *

University dons beat celebrity chefs in food book award

Two science policy academics have beaten top celebrity chefs in a competition to find the best food book of 2003.

Dr Erik Millstone at the University of Sussex, and Professor Tim Lang at City University have been celebrating the success of their book,The Atlas of Food, which gives a snapshot of 40 important trends affecting the world of food today, in the prestigious André Simon Memorial Fund awards this month.

Without a recipe in sight, they saw off competition from the likes of Nigel Slater, Michel Roux and the River Café duo Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers.

Dr Millstone said: "We've had some tremendous feedback about the book already. But it was a surprise and delight for us to pick up this award, particularly when you look at who else was on the shortlist."

Dr Millstone, a reader in science policy based at SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research) at the Sussex campus, and food policy expert Professor Lang attended a prize ceremony at New Zealand House in London on March 9, 2004.

The Atlas of Food, published by Earthscan in the UK (£11.99) and by Penguin Books in the USA, uses easy-to-understand graphics and charts to present comprehensive information on global patterns and trends such as where hunger and over-consumption exist side by side, how pesticide sales are increasing despite consumer and ecological concerns, and how  agricultural biodiversity has rapidly declined. . For example the USA  has lost 97 per cent of its original fruit and vegetable varieties.

Intended for a general audience, the editors also expect the publication to be of particular relevance to schools and colleges and for students of geography and international relations.

"The book gives a snapshot of some of the powerful forces that politicians must grapple with if they are to deliver a food supply system that doesn't contribute to ill health and environmental damage," said Dr Millstone.  "We managed to present a huge amount of information - and we could have done another 40 snapshots."

* Notes for editors *

The André Simon Awards were established more than 30 years ago to improve the level of food appreciation and the quality of food consumed Phone contact: 01225 336305

University of Sussex press office contacts: Jacqui Bealing or Maggie Clune,  Tel. 01273 678888, Fax 01273 877456, or

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