When in 2002 the first cow suffering from the animal disease BSE was born in Germany, consumer protection was plunged into a crisis. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) was founded in its wake. This year, the Institute turns 20. To mark the occasion, the tenth issue of the "BfR2GO" science magazine focuses on how the institute came into being and its working methods, as well as on future challenges. The practice of health risk assessment at the BfR has changed profoundly in the past decades. "Knowledge is growing. While an assessment used to fit on one sheet of paper, today it can cover 1,000 pages", says BfR President Professor Dr Dr Andreas Hensel. "Our current edition of BfR2GO shows that the quest to identify risks is always, and above all, a quest for scientific knowledge."
Identifying and assessing risks and looking for ways to reduce them: This is the BfR’s contribution to making the world safer for people. The cover story of BfR2GOexamines the Institute’s key issues as well as future developments and trends in risk assessment. How has the working practice of the BfR changed? How does a health risk assessment work? What were the top issues in recent years? These and other aspects are covered in the anniversary special in the current issue.
Also in the magazine: How does scientific communication work in times of a pandemic? Biologist and journalist Dagny Lüdemann, chief reporter at "Zeit online", explains why it is important for journalists to communicate science more honestly and with all its uncertainties - and what the consequences can be if this doesn't happen.
The BfR2GO chapter on food safety deals with lupine seeds, popular in vegan cuisine, and their bitter (after)taste: Alkaloids can lead to poisoning if the seeds are not debittered. In BfR2GO, travellers can also find out what to bear in mind when eating in tropical and subtropical regions. Keyword: different countries - different pathogens.
Further topics: How the overall exposure of humans to chemicals can be estimated and assessed in advance, what the ban on certain tattoo inks is all about and how the carcinogenic effects of hormonally active substances can be researched without animal experiments.
Compact and packed to the brim with knowledge, the BfR2GO science magazine provides up-to-date and well-founded information about research and its assessment in consumer health protection and about the protection of laboratory animals. Each issue presents a topic focusing on one of the BfR's current fields of work. Moreover, there are reports, interviews and news from all areas of the BfR's work.
BfR2GO is published in German and English. It is published on the BfR website and can be downloaded free of charge or ordered directly. If you’d like to receive BfR2GO on a continuing basis, you can also sign up for a free subscription.
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 German government and the States ("Laender") on questions of food, chemicals and product safety. The BfR conducts independent research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks. In 2022, the BfR is celebrating its 20th anniversary.