Public Perceptions of the Dioxin Crisis in Irish Pork
Patrick G. Wall
In early December 2008, a global recall of Irish pork was initiated as a result of a subset of the national pork output being contaminated with dioxin. In this study, members of a panel from an internet-based longitudinal monitor of public opinion on food and health, was used to assess public perceptions about the dioxin incident in late December. A larger proportion of respondents reported that that there was a 'very high' health risk from pork (8.6 %) than any other food of animal origin. The risk posed to human health from dioxins was considered to be relatively high compared to a broad range of potential food and non-food risks. The majority of respondents (70.5 %) accepted that the way in which the authorities managed the crisis was 'adequate' or 'very efficient'. These findings should be considered in light of the following facts: the European Food Safety Authority and the Irish authorities announced that there was no risk to human health from the dioxins in pork, there was extensive media attention about the dioxin incident, and the Irish Government had to introduce a 200 million euro compensation package for the Irish pork industry which was funded by the Irish taxpayer.
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