Sheila Dillon has been a food journalist for more than three decades. She has worked on BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme, first as a reporter, then producer and now presenter.
In her early days on the programme she produced ground-breaking editions on BSE and its connections to our desire for cheap food, the rise of GM foods, the growth of the organic movement from muck and magic to multi-million pound business, and the birth of the World Trade Organisation – triggering the modern globalisation of our food supply. All at a time when those subjects were not widely covered in the media, and certainly not covered by ‘food’ programmes.
Recent programmes on robots in the food business, the origins of the horsemeat fraud, the glory of British pies, diet and cancer, and the inadequacies of medical training when doctors are now faced every day with diet-induced diseases, carry on the tradition.
In 2000 she helped set up the BBC Food & Farming Awards which judge shops, producers, campaigners, cooks in public organisations and policy makers not only for the quality of their food but the difference they make to their communities, as well as the local and national economies. She’s won numerous awards for her journalism, including the Glaxo science prize and honorary doctorates from Harper Adams University, University of Chester and City University of London for her work, which, the City citation said, “has changed the way in which we think about food.”