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BfR is a well-known authority in consumer health protection

31/2021, 07.07.2021

Results of the 5th BfR Stakeholder and Population Survey on consumer health protection and the BfR’s work

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a well-known authority in consumer health protection in Germany. This is substantiated by the current evaluation, namely the "BfR Stakeholder and Population Survey". Every four years, the BfR interviews around 1,000 consumers and around 500 experts from politics, science, media as well as trade and consumer associations on consumer health protection topics and the awareness of the BfR. The name of the BfR is therefore familiar to over 80 percent of the stakeholders. "61 percent of the experts who are familiar with the information and assessments provided by the BfR also use it. This shows us that they value our work and assess it as being trustworthy," says BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. Among the population, almost 40 percent know the name "BfR". About half of the population generally feels well or very well informed when it comes to consumer health protection - and this trend on the increase.

The full report “BfR Stakeholder and Population Survey: "Fifth Evaluation of Consumer Health Protection in Germany" is published on the BfR website in German including an English summary:

As in previous evaluations, only part of the population could name consumer health protection institutions without assistance. Thus, the unsupported awareness of the BfR among the population is also at a low level (one percent). In general, institutions being present in the media are named more often. A similar picture emerges among the stakeholders: 12 percent spontaneously name the BfR. If, however, respondents are asked whether they have already heard of the BfR, its awareness among the population rises to almost 40 percent. That is 6 percentage points more compared to the survey in 2016. Among the stakeholder group this number reached 82 percent, which is 5 percentage points less than in 2016. Consumers are more likely to know the name, but only 5 percent are also familiar with BfR’s tasks. Among stakeholders, this proportion is 35 percent.

One third of the population that knows the BfR spontaneously or at least by name knows that BfR publishes information on consumer health protection, and one third of these people is also using this content. Among the stakeholders, slightly more than 40 percent who are aware of BfR know that the institute publishes assessment and research results on food, product and chemical safety. 61 percent of these people use this information. 39 percent of the population who use BfR's content consider it as important or very important. Among stakeholders this figure rises to 52 percent, in other words more than half of these respondents rate this information as important or very important.

Overall, both the population and the stakeholders attach great importance to public health protection. In the current survey, issues such as COVID-19, environmental pollution and poor quality in the food sector or in products, as well as unhealthy eating habits, are seen as the greatest health risks by both consumers and stakeholders.

In general, consumer health risks are a topic which not only consumers frequently seek information on. This is especially true for all representatives from the political sphere as well as stakeholders in general. Overall, around half of the respondents from the population feel well (38 percent) or very well (10 percent) informed about the topic consumer health protection. A growing trend: In 2016, these values were still at 30 percent (well informed) and 6 percent (very well informed). Among the stakeholders two out of three respondents claimed to feel well or very well informed.

About the BfR stakeholder and population survey

The BfR evaluates the perception of consumer health protection in Germany at regular intervals. The current evaluation was conducted in 2020 as a telephone survey among 1,003 consumers and a total of 504 stakeholders from science, politics and media as well as consumer and trade associations. Questions were asked about general consumer health protection in Germany as well as about the work and awareness of the institute. This report presents the results of the fifth evaluation; previous surveys took place in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016.

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.

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07.07.2021
BfR-Wissenschaft 02/2021
BfR-Stakeholder- und Bevölkerungsbefragung: Fünfte Evaluation zum gesundheitlichen Verbraucherschutz in Deutschland - Endbericht 1.4 MB
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