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At the beginning of the year 2005 the German meat industry frequently featured in the media with reports on tainted meat. Since then, a huge number of new problems concerning meat production and trade have arisen which have uncovered weaknesses in food quality control, and highlighted the explosive nature of this subject matter. It is unclear what effect the media involvement has had on the political process of regulatory decision-making in the food industry, and to what extent it has influenced this process. The following article examines these issues with regard to the presentation of food safety scandals in the media, as the role of press coverage will continue to increase in importance in the coming years. This research is based on the content analysis of 347 articles on the topic of “tainted meat” which were published in seven German newspapers. The empirical results demonstrate that state actors such as government ministers and the administration have dominated the debate in the media, and thus decisively contributed to the fact that the responsibility for food security in Germany is assigned to the government. Companies and organizations in the meat industry hardly ever appear in the discussion.


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