Recalibrating Risk through Media: Two Cases of Intentional Food Poisoning in Japan

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In 2008, a case of intentional food poisoning involving Chinese imported dumplings resulted in mass panic in Japan. Within a context of sensitive bilateral relations and Japanese agriculture in decline, the media were key to the enhanced risk perception among the public. To shed light on the concrete ways of risk recalibration by the media, the article compares the incident’s coverage to a strikingly similar event in 2014 involving domestic produce. Drawing on the social amplification of risk framework, a qualitative content analysis shows how the specific discursive construction of both incidents led to two different levels of risk, primarily through the framing of the incidents by references to former experiences and symbolic connotations. At the intersection of food, media and risk, the article also contributes to the understanding of perceptions of domestic as opposed to foreign or imported risks, and those in power to label these as such.
TidsskriftFood and Foodways
Udgave nummer1-2
Sider (fra-til)74-97
Antal sider24
StatusUdgivet - 2019


  • Culinary nationalism
  • Food incident
  • Japan
  • Media
  • Social amplification of risk