The literature on risk regulation often assumes a direct link between public pressure and regulatory responses. This article investigates whether the direction of regulatory response is related to public argumentation as expressed in the national print media. Three approaches are explored: national policy patterns, political panics expressed in Pavlovian politics, and policy responses shaped by universal policy paradigms. It assesses these three approaches in comparative perspective by looking at scandals in food safety regulation in Denmark, Germany and the US, looking at argumentation patterns in the national print media and using a coding system derived from grid-group cultural theory and regulatory responses. While all three countries display mostly hierarchical argumentation patterns, their actual regulatory responses point to diverse patterns
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