It claims consumers often underestimate risks which are classified as health-relevant from a risk assessment point of view, such as food hygiene at home.
Pathogens in food
One new topic is the question of awareness of several pathogens in the food sector.
"While most people have heard of Salmonella, only a minority has heard of Campylobacter," said Professor Dr. Andreas Hensel, BfR.
"This is despite the fact that Campylobacter is by now the most common bacterial pathogen of intestinal infections in Germany."
The BfR Consumer Monitor gives an insight every six months as to how the German-speaking population perceives health risks.
Approximately 1,000 people living in private households in Germany who are at least 14 years of age are interviewed by telephone on behalf of the BfR.
The survey analyses questions which have not been the focus of attention but are also of relevance. For example, “genome editing” which modifies genetic material.
The question concerning whether and to what extent public perception deviates from scientific estimations of health risks is of particular interest for the work of the BfR, as the Institute can then counteract false estimations or misunderstandings with communicative measures.
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids in teas
It has found the general public is largely unaware of important consumer health protection topics, such as pyrrolizidine alkaloids in teas and honey, or wrongly classifies them as being of no concern.
A question in the latest Consumer Monitor concerned awareness of several pathogens in the food sector.
It found 95% of respondents know about Salmonella compared to 22% percent who know about Campylobacter, even though the latter can result in a foodborne disease known as campylobacteriosis.
In Germany, Campylobacter has by now become the most common bacterial pathogen to cause intestinal infections.
With regard to aluminium from menu trays, two thirds of respondents are aware of it and slightly over one third are concerned about it.
The majority of respondents continue to regard food in Germany as safe. When asked about the greatest health risks, most of the respondents mention smoking, climate and environmental pollution, along with an unhealthy or wrong diet, followed by alcohol and unhealthy or contaminated foods.
When asked specifically about selected topics, Salmonella, genetically modified foods, antimicrobial resistance and residues of plant protection products head the list where awareness is concerned.
These are also the four topics which cause concern among the majority of respondents.