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Population currently sees coronavirus as the greatest health risk

34/2020, 19.10.2020

The BfR publishes the eleventh Consumer Monitor on the perception of health risks

The coronavirus is currently the population’s main concern. More than a quarter of consumers perceive the virus as the greatest health risk. This is a finding of the most recent edition of the Consumer Monitor, a representative population survey by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). Next on the list of concerns, though notably less frequently mentioned, are unhealthy or wrong diet as well as climate and environmental pollution - these were the most frequently mentioned concerns in February’s survey. "The coronavirus pandemic dominates public perception", says BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel.

Go to the Consumer Monitor information booklet 08/2020:

Go to the interactive website (only in German):

Since the study series began in 2014, no other topic has been so often spontaneously named as the greatest health risk as the novel coronavirus. In spite of this, however, only a third of respondents had heard of coronaviruses on food at the time the data was collected in August 2020. Correspondingly, few people (12 percent) are concerned about this. From a scientific perspective, it is unlikely that the coronavirus is transmitted via food. Nevertheless, the general rules of hygiene for preparing food should always be observed. Current information on the perception of the novel coronavirus among the German population is available in the special series "BfR-Corona-Monitor", which is published every 14 days.

When asked about selected topics, antimicrobial resistance and microplastics in food are still the issues that most people worry about. In each case, nearly 60 percent say they are concerned about these topics. Genetically modified foods rank third - the concern here has increased by six percentage points compared to the previous survey.

The results of the current BfR Consumer Monitor as well as the previous issue (February 2020) can now also be viewed interactively. On the new website set up for this, the results can be broken down by different groups of people (e. g., gender and age) and the data can be downloaded at the touch of a button. Feedback on the new presentation format is welcome - just click on the button "Wie gefällt Ihnen diese Seite?".

To the interactive website (only in German):

About the BfR Consumer Monitor

Whether antimicrobial resistance, microplastics, salmonella or aluminium in foods - which health risks do the population know about and what is it that worries them? The BfR Consumer Monitor provides answers to these and other questions. For this survey, around 1,000 people living in private households, and who are at least 14 years old, are interviewed by telephone on behalf of the BfR every six months.

About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. It advises the German federal government and German federal states ("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.

This text version is a translation of the original German text which is the only legally binding version.


Publications - BfR Consumer Monitor

Date Title Size
BfR Consumer Monitor 08/2020 809.4 KB


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