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Abstract

At the beginning of the year 2005 the German meat industry frequently appeared in the media with reports about rotten meat. Since then a huge number of new problems with meat have arisen which have disclosed weaknesses in food quality control and highlighted the extremely sensitive nature of the subject in the meat sector. Contrary to the BSE crisis after which private control systems were strengthened, the “rotten meat scandals” led to more state control. Hence, no clear political direction is perceptible as to whether primary responsibility for food safety should lie with the state or with the industry. The following contribution examines this question with regard to the presentation of this subject in the media. It is based on the content analysis of 347 articles on the topic “rotten meat” which were published in seven German newspapers. The empirical results demonstrate that state actors have dominated the debate in the media and have thus decisively contributed to the fact that the primary responsibility for food security in Germany is assigned to the government. Companies and organizations of the meat industry have hardly ever appeared in the discussion.

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