Avoid the unwanted gift of food poisoning this Christmas

Hart District Council is supporting the Food Standards Agency to give advice on how to safely prepare turkey at home this Christmas.

There are an estimated one million cases of food poisoning in the UK every year, and without care and attention to food hygiene, this doesn’t stop during the festive season. Follow these tips on chilling and cooking your turkey safely:

  • When Christmas food shopping, take enough bags with you so that you can separate out raw and ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Check the guidance on your turkey to ensure you have enough time to fully defrost it, this could take as much as 4 days.
  • Don’t wash raw turkey; it just splashes germs onto your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops.
  • To work out the cooking time for your turkey, 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.
  • Whether you intend to cook your turkey from fresh or frozen, your turkey leftovers can be used to make a new meal (such as a turkey curry). This new meal can then be frozen, but make sure you only reheat it once.

Cllr Sara Kinnell, Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services at Hart District Council, said: “Cooking Christmas dinner for a large group of people can be a challenge, and it is vital that the turkey, or other meat of the meal, is stored, defrosted (if necessary) and cooked correctly. Hart’s Environmental Health team have been working hard all year round and over the past year they have carried out 248 routine food hygiene inspections, responded to 157 formal notifications of food poisoning and investigated 112 complaints about food hygiene.”

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

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