Govt seeks shop for healthy eating task

Food Standards Agency draws up shortlist of three to pitch for creative assignment; media review is under consideration.

The Food Standards Agency has kicked off a review of its advertising arrangements, and has launched a hunt for an above-the-line agency to work on a food safety brief.

Mother, Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy and Farm have all been shortlisted to pitch for the business. The search for a shop is being handled by COI.

In a letter to the three agencies, the FSA laid out a brief to create a campaign that is similar in tone and approach to the Government's anti-drink-driving "Think" work.

The FSA wants to warn consumers of the dangers of improper storage, preparation and cooking of foods in an attempt to drive down cases of food poisoning. An above-the-line campaign is timed to coincide with Christmas, and is expected to outline instructions on proper methods of cooking a turkey.

James Brandon, the FSA head of marketing, said no decision had been reached on media, which is currently held by ZenithOptimedia. However, he would not rule out a media review at a later date.

Brandon added that while the food safety brief does not include work for the FSA's food labelling and salt-reduction education campaigns, those elements would also be placed under review in the coming months.

Currently, Grey London handles the salt-reduction and labelling accounts, following the merger with United London earlier this year.

At the time of the merger, COI said the account would remain at Grey, despite the fact that the WPP agency is not on the COI roster.

However, a source at Grey conceded the agency's lack of roster status meant a review of the account was inevitable.

The FSA's most famous food safety advertising was its 2002 "sausages" TV spot, which was created by HHCL Red Cell. It warned against the danger of undercooking food on the barbecue, and used The Three Degrees' song When Will I See You Again?

The ad was part of a £20 million hygiene campaign aimed at reducing food poisoning by 20 per cent over four years.

HHCL also created the "Sid the slug" campaign, warning the public of the dangers of excessive salt consumption.