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Consumer health protection: Majority of the population trusts science

17/2021, 26.04.2021

BfR publishes twelfth Consumer Monitor on the perception of health risks

About two thirds of people in Germany trust science to protect the health of consumers. That is one result of the current Consumer Monitor, a representative population survey from the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). Consumer advice centres and consumer organisations enjoy a similarly high level of trust. In contrast, only one in six respondents has confidence in politics, the media or the economy when it comes to protecting health. "Science pursues the truth", says BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. "Microplastics in food concern more than half of the respondents. Based on the current knowledge, however, it is unlikely that plastic particles in food pose health risks for humans", says Hensel

Go to the BfR Consumer Monitor information booklet 02/2021:

The results of the current BfR Consumer Monitor show that the population's interest in consumer health topics is generally high: Two-thirds are interested in them. About half indicate that they often inform themselves about such topics.

The biggest health risks spontaneously mentioned by 22 percent of respondents are certain constellations of nutrients - such as a high content of sugar, fat or salt in food. At a greater distance follow risks such as an unhealthy diet and lifestyle (13%) as well as undesirable substances and additives in food (11% each).

When asked about selected topics, antibiotic resistance and microplastics in food are currently peoples’ greatest concerns. More than half indicate they are concerned about these issues. 57% are concerned about antibiotic resistance and 54% about microplastics in food. However, there is comparatively little concern about food hygiene in one’s own home; only one in ten is concerned about this topic. At the same time, most respondents - around two-thirds (66%) in total - feel well informed in this particular area. From a scientific point of view, however, a lack of food hygiene in the home is one of the main causes of food-borne diseases.

About the BfR Consumer Monitor

Whether antibiotic 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 16 years old, are interviewed by telephone by the BfR every six months.

In recent years, the questionnaire for the BfR Consumer Monitor has been continuously refined to ensure a high scientific standard of methodology. Fundamental changes have been made for this survey: For example, the question set was updated, the content of existing questions was expanded and the format of the response scale was standardised. Therefore, the current issue does not present any comparisons with the results of previous surveys.

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. The BfR advises the Federal Government and the 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 02/2021 947.7 KB


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