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Consumers ask questions - the BfR President to answer queries by video

42/2011, 05.12.2011

New dialogue forum for consumers on the BfR website

The website of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) features a new dialogue forum as of 1 December 2011. Consumers can ask questions online and subsequently vote for the ones they would like to be answered by using a voting function. The President of the BfR, Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel, will then answer the three most urgent questions in a video message. In future, the dialogue forum will be a regular feature of the BfR website. The first forum focuses on risks arising from germs in food. "Being in dialogue with consumers is very important to us", Hensel emphasises. "We want to make more use of the Internet to engage in dialogue and communicate the insights of our scientific risk assessments using plain language that everybody can understand."

How do pathogenic germs make their way into the kitchen? What are the things to be borne in mind when preparing and storing food? What germs are especially dangerous and why? What are the foods you should be cautious about? How do you know that food has been contaminated with dangerous germs? What precisely is the task of the BfR in this context? Consumers can enter questions related to the subject “germs in food” into the dialogue forum online between 1 and 21 December. In the subsequent voting phase, the users decide by mouse click which questions the BfR President will answer in a video. The video will be produced following completion of the voting phase and published on the BfR website and also via the BfR YouTube channel.

Food can contain bacteria, viruses or fungi which cause infections. More than 200,000 food-borne infections are reported in Germany every year. The estimated number of undetected cases is much higher still. By following simple rules when preparing and storing food, most of these infections could be prevented. The high numbers of cases as well as numerous questions which the BfR receives on food hygiene from consumers show that there is a great need for information. The BfR therefore uses the new online consumer forum to provide information to the public.

About the BfR

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientific institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV). It advises the Federal Government and Federal Laender on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.

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