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BfR President answers consumer questions on the Internet

12/2012, 13.03.2012

Second edition of the online dialogue forum launched

"Antibiotics use in the stable - how safe is our food?" is the subject of the second online dialogue forum of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). As of 12 March 2012, consumers can ask questions directly on the BfR web site and subsequently vote for the ones they would like to be answered by using a voting function. The President of the BfR, Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel, will then answer the three most urgent questions in a video message. After a successful launch at the end of 2011, the BfR website will regularly feature the new format, covering a variety of issues.  "The dialogue with consumers is important to us, especially when it comes to this type of very controversial discussion", Hensel emphasises.

Although the detection of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria on food is not a new development, it has nevertheless made headlines in recent weeks. But how serious are the risks for consumers? What are the things to watch out for when handling meat and other animal-based foods? What is the role of the BfR in this context? Between 12 and 21 March, consumers can enter their questions about anything to do with the subject “The Use of Antibiotics in the Stable - How Safe Is Our Food” in the dialogue forum online. 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.

When animals get sick, it may be necessary to treat them with antimicrobials. In the opinion of the BfR, the use of such pharmaceuticals should be limited to what is medically absolutely necessary. Efforts should focus on keeping animals healthy, so that no treatment is necessary in the first place. The extensive media coverage of the subject of antimicrobials and antimicrobial-resistant germs and the large number of questions which the BfR receives from consumers both show that there is a great need for information in this area. The BfR therefore uses the 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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