Coronavirus is the main issue concerning Germans, according to a survey by the country’s risk assessment agency.

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR)’s Consumer Monitor found more than a quarter of the public perceive the virus as the greatest health risk. Only 5 percent mentioned unhealthy or contaminated food.

A third of respondents had heard of coronaviruses on food when data was collected in August but only 12 percent are concerned about this. Officials continue to say it is unlikely that coronavirus is transmitted via food but general rules of hygiene for preparing food should be followed.

Next on the list of concerns, after COVID-19, are unhealthy or wrong diet as well as climate and environmental pollution.

More than 90 percent had heard of Salmonella in food while less than half had heard of Listeria and awareness was less than a quarter for Campylobacter. More than three-quarters of those asked had heard of mycotoxins in food.

Non-COVID concerns
Antimicrobial resistance and microplastics in food are 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 and concern has increased by 6 percent compared to the previous survey earlier this year.

Less than half are concerned about Salmonella in food, only 16 percent are concerned about Listeria, and 9 percent about Campylobacter. A third are worried about food hygiene in gastronomy.

More than 1,000 people at least 14 years old and living in private households were interviewed by telephone in August on behalf of the BfR.

The BfR Consumer Monitor provides answers every six months to how the general public perceives topics around consumer health protection.

Almost 80 percent of Germans consider food sold in the country to be safe to eat. A total of 18 percent said foods offered for sale were more unsafe than safe and 3 percent said they were unsafe.

A fifth of respondents said the quality of food was increasing with a third saying it was staying the same and 44 percent believed it was decreasing. A third thought the safety of food was going down, half said it was staying the same and 15 percent said it was going up.

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