A View on the Uninformed Consumers Towards Quality Standards in the Context of the TTIP Negotiations
AGROFOR International Journal, Vol. 2, Issue No. 3, 2017
9 Pages Posted: 29 May 2019
Date Written: October 10, 2017
Radio broadcasts, TV shows and online media make a significant contribution to day-to-day consumer information and have a great impact on public opinion. The present study provides an overview of the German reporting about the quality standards of the agri-food industry in the context of the negotiations towards a EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). On the basis of a guided empirical content analysis, 436 publications released via radio, TV or Internet in the period from June 2013 to December 2016 were quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed. The quantitative analysis showed that the agri-food industry was generally of minor relevance in the coverage of TTIP, but focused mainly on quality standards. The term 'quality and consumer protection standards' frequently appeared in the reportings with the topics such as genetic modification, use of hormones, antibiotics or pesticides and the 'chlorine-washed chicken'. These are not standards for official definition of the general food law. It was established that all publications lacked information about specific standards. Thus, the quantitative analysis showed a superficial view of quality standards with only symbolic characteristics. The results of the qualitative media analysis indicated a negative picture of the effects of TTIP concerning the agri-food sector and its standards. Due to the complex structure of the globalised agri-food chains, the importance of comprehensive consumer information was highlighted. Overall, German media failed to provide scientifically based information. Unfortunately, they just highlighted the possible negative changes which could be caused by TTIP.
Keywords: agri-food industry, food safety, quality management, quality standards, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation