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Scientific expertise for those on the move

36/2015, 23.11.2015

New free BfR "Opinion App" facilitates consumer health protection research

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) now provides even easier and mobile access to its health-related assessments. Thanks to a newly introduced mobile app, consumers can find all health-related BfR assessments at a glance. The BfR publishes these assessments or “opinions” in the context of specific events and in crisis situations. They discuss health risks arising from substances or microorganisms contained in foods and consumer-related products such as cosmetics, textiles, food packaging and toys. "The app is first and foremost a tool for stakeholders in politics, science, unions, business and non-government organisations who use BfR opinions as part of their profession", explains Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel, President of the BfR. "Each scientific opinion is additionally preceded by a summary that the general public can understand. This means that consumers can educate themselves about specific risks using their app."

The BfR has the legal mandate to evaluate and assess the risks posed to human health by substances, microorganisms, products and processes and, where applicable, to make recommendations for risk minimisation and prevention and to suggest other suitable measures. This is done in the form of so-called scientific opinions. These BfR opinions provide the scientific basis for decisions by national and European legislators and other political bodies. In addition, they inform decisions in product approvals, regulation by government authorities supervising currently applicable food, chemical and product safety and decisions taken by courts regarding questions of food, chemical and product safety. This means that the app is essentially a tool for political stakeholders who are professionally involved in legislative processes.

All opinions in the app have been written in accordance with the “Guideline for Health Assessments” and contain original data from the scientific assessment work of the BfR. They contain a summary that the general public can understand and are subdivided into the “Subject of the assessment”, “Results and conclusions” and “Rationale”. As a special service, the results of selected opinions have been presented in the form of a clear graph, the BfR risk profile, since 2013.

The app presents the BfR opinions in chronological order by years and provides around-the-clock mobile access to them. Newly uploaded opinions are marked with a special tag. Opinions already downloaded or read can be opened in the app again even when the user is offline. The app features a full-text search function which makes it easy to find specific opinions. Similarly, the app allows the user to search for key words within individual opinions. The page preview provides a quick overview of especially long opinions. Users can individually adjust the text size while reading. The app is equally suitable for smartphones and tablets.

The BfR “Opinions App” was developed for smartphones and tablets using the operating systems Android and iOS. The app is now available for free download in the relevant app stores:

About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientific institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). 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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