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Food, Risk and PoliticsScare, Scandal and Crisis – Insights Into the RiskPolitics of Food Safety$
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Ed Randall

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780719072307

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719072307.001.0001

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Salmonella and media intrusion: food safety policy and politics upset

Salmonella and media intrusion: food safety policy and politics upset

Chapter:
(p.31) 2 Salmonella and media intrusion: food safety policy and politics upset
Source:
Food, Risk and Politics
Author(s):

Ed Randall

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719072307.003.0002

This chapter examines a national alarm in the UK, said to be have been provoked by the careless talk of a junior health minister in Margaret Thatcher's last administration. The minister concerned, a colourful Conservative politician, Edwina Currie, vehemently denied that she had acted irresponsibly by drawing the public's attention to health risks associated with the presence of salmonella in eggs. Her claims that salmonella in eggs posed a serious health threat produced more heat than light in Whitehall, Parliament and the press; but it was a story that the press proved reluctant, until the minister's departure, to let go. It has been described as a classic example of a media ‘feeding frenzy’. The political turbulence caused by Currie's warnings about salmonella in eggs signalled a deep disturbance in food policy and interactions between media, politics, and public opinion that were to become increasingly difficult to manage.

Keywords:   food scare, health minister, Edwina Currie, salmonella, eggs, health risks, media frenzy, food policy

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