Now that the Food Standards Agency’s virility has been snipped and its knackers stitched on to two new hosts the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and the Department for Health it’s pleasing to see environment secretary Caroline Spelman already getting a firm grip of her new funbag.

That old adage "if you don’t know, don’t be afraid to ask" has never been truer than in ministers’ 19-page briefing to Defra, which stated the sort of information that civil servants should be feeding her. "The odd figure is helpful. Include examples of the average price of a loaf of bread," it read. Not one for popping to her local Spar for a top-up loaf, then.

This apparently simple request also opens a whole can of worms regarding definition: do you count bread on promo? White, brown or seeded? 800g, 400g, 525g? In-store, branded, own-label or craft bakery? Geography of purchase? We would recommend the establishment of a standing committee on the matter forthwith.