'A grim health future': food risks in the Sydney press

Deborah Lupton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    56 Citations (Scopus)


    Food scares and newsworthy stories about risks associated with food often receive a high level of attention in the news media. This article examines the reporting of food risks over a recent 14-month period in three metropolitan newspapers available to readers in Sydney. The major topic reported over this time was the relationship between food intake and obesity, which comprised almost half of news stories about food risks. This topic was followed in frequency by the risks associated with primary food production and the risks from processed, restaurant or takeaway food. The article looks in detail at how each of these topics was reported, including the discourses that were employed to give meaning to the news stories. Much emphasis was placed upon personal responsibility for avoiding food risks, particularly in relation to overweight. News stories suggested that Australians, and in particular, Australian children, were facing a crisis in relation to the numbers of people over-eating and becoming fat as a result. The overweight body was represented as grotesque, out of control, unhealthy and unAustralian. In other news stories, various aspects of farming were presented as 'unnatural' and thus as rendering foodstuffs risky. Food prepared outside the home was portrayed as far more dangerous than food prepared within the home, with an emphasis in reporting on the potential for contamination in such foods.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)187-200
    Number of pages14
    JournalHealth, Risk and Society
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


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