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Avoid the unwanted gift of food poisoning this Christmas

Christmas Turkey

There are an estimated one million cases of food poisoning in the UK every year, and without attention to food hygiene, this does not stop during the festive season.

To save your loved ones from a nasty bout of food poisoning over the holidays, follow these Food Standards Agency tips from Eden District Council to keep your festive season truly the most wonderful time of the year.

Top Tips

  1. When Christmas food shopping, take sufficient bags with you so that you can separate out raw and ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination.
  2. Check the guidance on your turkey to ensure you have enough time to fully defrost it. It could take as much as 4 days.
  3. Do not wash raw turkey; it just splashes germs onto your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops.
  4. To work out the cooking time for your bird, check the instructions on the packaging. Check that: the meat is steaming hot throughout; there is no pink meat visible when you cut into the thickest part and meat juices run clear.
  5. Whether you cooked your turkey from frozen or fresh, you can use your turkey leftovers to make a new meal (such as a turkey curry). This new meal can be frozen, but make sure you only reheat it once.

Emma Brass, Principal Environmental Health Officer for Eden District Council, said: “Cooking a Christmas roast for a large gathering can be a challenge. It is vital that the turkey, or other meat of the meal, is stored, defrosted and cooked correctly. Likewise, with leftovers from Christmas, you need to reheat and consume the food within a specific timeframe in order to avoid food poisoning.

"This is why Eden District Council is supporting the Food Standards Agency in helping you to relieve some of the stress of preparing your Christmas meal and to keep your family safe during the festive period."

Adam Hardgrave, Head of Foodborne Disease Control at the Food Standards Agency, said: "The four Cs of food hygiene: Chilling, Cleaning, Cooking and avoiding Cross-contamination are important throughout the year, but especially at Christmas.

"In the flurry of preparing the Christmas meal, it is important to remember to plan ahead and allow plenty of time. Remember that an average-sized turkey can take four days to fully thaw in the fridge. It is vital to thoroughly cook a turkey so that the meat is steaming hot, there is no pink meat visible, and that the meat juices run clear."

For more information, visit: www.food.gov.uk/seasons-eatings, or follow @foodgov #SeasonsEatings on Twitter for tips and advice throughout the festive period.

ENDS