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Balancing food risks and food benefits: the coverage of probiotics in the UK national press

Nerlich, Brigitte; Koteyko, Nelya

Authors

Brigitte Nerlich brigitte.nerlich@nottingham.ac.uk

Nelya Koteyko nk158@le.ac.uk



Abstract

The 1980s and 1990s were marked by a series of food crises, environmental disasters and the emergence of so-called 'superbugs'. At the same time, social scientists, such as Ulrich Beck, began to study the rise of a modern 'risk society'. The late 1990s and early years of this new millennium have been marked by increasing consumer interest in organic and natural foods but also in novel food products, such as probiotics or friendly bacteria which, as supplements or added to yoghurts, promise to help fight various effects of 'modernity', from stress to superbugs. Using thematic analysis and corpus linguistic tools, this article charts the rise of probiotics from 1985 to 2006 and asks: How did this rise in popularity come about? How did science and the media contribute to it? And: How were these bacteria enlisted as agents of attitudinal change? Analysing the construction of certain food benefits in the context of a heightened state of anxiety about food risk might shed light on aspects of 'risk society' that have so far been overlooked.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 30, 2008
Journal Sociological Research Online
Electronic ISSN 1360-7804
Publisher SAGE Publications (UK and US)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 3
APA6 Citation Nerlich, B., & Koteyko, N. (2008). Balancing food risks and food benefits: the coverage of probiotics in the UK national press. Sociological Research Online, 13(3), doi:10.5153/sro.1692
DOI https://doi.org/10.5153/sro.1692
Keywords Food Risks, Food Benefits, Probiotics, Media, Risk Society, Medicalisation
Publisher URL http://www.socresonline.org.uk/13/3/1.html
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





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