More than three quarters of Germans consider food sold in the country to be safe to eat, according to a recent report.

Results come from a representative population survey by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). A total of 17 percent of respondents said foods offered for sale in the country were more unsafe than safe and 2 percent said they were unsafe.

The 10th edition showed only 15 percent of the people said the quality of food was increasing, with 38 percent saying it was staying the same and 45 percent saying it was decreasing. One in five said the safety of food was increasing, almost half said it was tending to stay the same and nearly a third thought it was decreasing.

A total of 54 percent trust state authorities to protect their health — this is 5 percent more than the previous survey in August 2019.

For the survey, more than 1,100 people at least 14 years old and living in private households, were interviewed by telephone from late January to early February on behalf of the BfR.

Consumer awareness and concern levels
When asked about certain topics, foods topping the consumer awareness scale were Salmonella in food at 96 percent, and genetically modified food and antimicrobial resistance both at 93 percent. Only half were aware of Listeria in food and a quarter knew about Campylobacter in food.

As in August 2019, microplastics in food and antimicrobial resistance are still the issues that most respondents worry about. More than 60 percent of people stated they were worried about these topics.

Almost half of the Germans surveyed were worried about Salmonella in food. Less than 1 in 5 were worried about Listeria in food and 1 in 10 about Campylobacter, as most had not heard of it.

Respondents were also less concerned about mycotoxins in food, food hygiene at home, and Campylobacter than they were the year before.

“It is important to us to know people’s worries and concerns. Only then can we explain about health risks appropriately and in detail,” said Professor Andreas Hensel, BfR president.

Some think food poses COVID-19 risk
The climate and environmental pollution, an unhealthy or wrong diet, and smoking were again top of the list of the most frequently mentioned health risks in the survey.

Meanwhile, the latest BfR survey of 504 people monitoring attitudes to coronavirus up to May 5 shows people continue to perceive food as a risk.

Two thirds estimated the probability of being infected with the novel coronavirus by food as very low or low. Almost 1 in 5 said it was medium and 15 percent said it was high or very high. This is the second highest level since it was at 18 percent at the end of March. One week before, at the end of April, had been the lowest level with only 8 percent believing there was a high risk from food.

The 14 to 39 year old group was more likely than 40 to 59 year olds and the over 60’s to think there was a high or very high probability of being infected via food.

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