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Archive of Professor Tim Lang

  • Lang, Timothy Mark (b.1948)
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


This collection of papers reflects Tim Lang's increasing and extensive involvement and role in the field of food policy, nutrition, environment and public health from the late 1970s up until 2000. It also provides a significant 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.

Section A comprises Tim Lang's correspondence as head of the London Food Commission 1984-1990; as a leading member of Parents For Safe Food, the National Food Alliance and the Sustainable Agriculture Food and Environment (SAFE) Alliance, c.1989-1994; as Professor of Food Policy and Director of the Centre for Food Policy, Thames Valley University (Wolfson Institute of Health Sciences), 1994-2000. Series A/1 is complemented by the papers forming Section B and C which largely cover the activities of the pioneering London Food Commission.

Tim Lang's wide-ranging writings on food are represented in section D which comprises abstracts and texts or transcripts of papers given by Tim Lang at various conferences, seminars and speaking events (UK and overseas) and also of articles for publication largely in newspapers and journals or magazines relating to food issues. Many of the subjects he has written on are also covered in a group of subject files representing some of his active interests into the late 1990s (Section E). These include material on meat production standards, an early school meals campaigns in Lancashire 1980-1982 as well as the national school meals campaigns in the 1990s, the issue of low income and food poverty, the Food Safety Act 1990, the salmonella and the listeria 'scares' in the late 1980s, and the impact of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) reform and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on the food trade, health and safety, the environment and the Developing World.

Section F includes a large series of press cuttings collected by the Food Additives Campaign Team, relating to all aspects of food additives, food 'adulteration' and the activities of FACT. The London Food Commission was a member of FACT which was set up in 1985.



Physical description

70 boxes


The collection is arranged into six sections as follows:

A. Tim Lang's Correspondence, 1984-2000
B. London Food Commission Organisation and Activities, 1984-1990
C. Reports by the London Food Commission and Other Organisations, 1983-1990
D. Tim Lang's Writings and Talks, 1985-1993
E. Food Related Subject Files, 1978-1997
F. Food Additive Campaign Team (FACT), 1985-1989

Acquisition note

Accession 1093 was collected from Tim Lang's offices at Thames Valley University, 24 October 2002. Accession 1698 and 2274 were collected from Tim Lang's offices at City University, 28 October 2009 and 4 April 2016.

Biographical note

Tim Lang is Professor of Food Policy at City University, London (appointed 2002).

Tim Lang was born 7 January 1948. He obtained a BA in Psychology and Sociology 1970 from the University of Leeds and a PhD from the Department of Psychology in 1974. During the 1970s he held posts as a lecturer at Trinity and All Saints College, Leeds, and Preston Polytechnic. During this decade he was also a hill farmer in Lancashire (a partner in Simfield and Ramsclough Farms, Slaidburn, Clitheroe, Lancashire).

In 1982 Lang joined Manchester Polytechnic's Department of Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management as a Senior Lecturer. The following year he also took on the role of Director of the Food Policy Unit at the polytechnic where he was involved in supervising research projects on food poverty, catering policy and local authorities' food policies as well as a two-year research and information programme for North West Regional Health Authority.

From Nov 1984 to Mar 1990 Tim Lang was Director of the London Food Commission (LFC), set up under the auspices of the Greater London Council. The LFC was a non-governmental, independent organisation primarily involved in social, economic and technological aspects of nutrition and food, general food policy, consultancies, education and training. The LFC was wound down in 1990 and succeeded by The Food Commission (UK). Tim Lang went on to become Director of Parents for Safe Food 1990-1994, originally set up in 1989 as an anti-pesticide pressure group campaigning against the use of the chemical daminozide ('Alar') on fruit crops. Parents for Safe Food later turned its attention to international harmonisation of food standards, school meals campaigns and a cooking skills project in conjunction with the National Food Alliance, an organisation which had been set up in the 1980s. The cooking skills project, 'Get Cooking' was funded by the Department of Health and Tim Lang acted as a consultant Oct 1992-Mar 1994. In addition, between 1991 and 1993 Lang was also National Food Alliance consultant on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) researching its impact on food quality, health, the environment and consumers.

In 1994 Tim Lang was appointed Professor of Food Policy and Director of the Centre for Food Policy, Thames Valley University (in the Wolfson Institute of Health Sciences). There he supervised the MA in Food Policy. In Nov 2002 the Food Policy team moved to City University, Department of Public Health Primary Care and Food Policy, School of Community and Health Sciences where Tim Lang supervised the MSc in Food Policy. He later became Professor of Food Policy, Centre for Food Policy, Department of Sociology, School of Arts & Social Sciences, City University.

Tim Lang's core concerns and activities are in the promotion of better public understanding of the direction of the food supply chain and its implications. His policy work on food adulteration and quality contributed to the creation of the Food Standards Agency in 2000 and the 1990 Food Safety Act. He is a well-known media spokesperson on food policy, famous for coining the phrase 'food miles' (the distance food travels from production to consumer) and he has led the field in researching food poverty and so-called food deserts. Annually, Lang presents numerous lectures and papers at national, local and international meetings. He holds, and has held, many appointments and senior advisory roles on national and international bodies (government and non-governmental) and academic journals connected to food, nutrition, health and environment. In Jun 2006 he was appointed a Commissioner on the UK government's Sustainable Development Commission and in Dec 2008 he became a member of the Council of Food Policy Advisors to the Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Tim Lang is author and co-author of over 120 publications, including eight books, numerous reports for UK and international bodies and articles for academic journals. His journalistic work comprises frequent contributions in the general newspaper, journal and magazine press. Recent book publications include Food Policy: Integrating Health, Environment and Society, with David Barling and Martin Caraher (OUP, 2009) and Food Wars: The Battle for Mouths, Minds and Markets Lang and Michael Heaseman (Earthscan, London, 2004).

Further biographical information can be found in several online sources, notably: "The Man Who Invented Food Miles" article in the Observer Food Monthly by Jan Rayner, 25 Mar 2007; his City University staff profile; the website of Sustain (the alliance for better food and farming), of which he was a founder member.

Terms of use

This collection has been partially catalogued and the catalogued part is available to library members. Some items have access restrictions which are explained in the item-level catalogue records. Requests to view uncatalogued material are considered on a case by case basis. Please contact for more details.

Finding aids

Online Archives and Manuscripts catalogue. Hard copy catalogue also available in the Wellcome Library.

Accruals note

The following is an interim description of material that has been acquired since this collection was catalogued. This description may change when cataloguing takes place in future:

27 boxes of paper material, some audio and audio-visual material and digital material received 4 April 2016 (acc.2274), consisting of: additional papers of Professor Tim Lang comprising working notebooks kept by Lang from the 1990s onwards; box files of writings by Tim Lang (mostly published); subject files; audio-visual material; digital material (mostly disks containing Lang's papers and correspondence). The material relates to all of Professor Lang's activities in the field of food policy and strategy 1970s-2015 including work connected to the London Food Commission and the Food Commission and Parents For Safe Food.


  • English

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