Make sure food poisoning isn’t an unwelcome visitor in your home this Christmas

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No one wants to risk food poisoning, especially over the festive holiday, so please take some simple precautions so you and your loved ones don’t add to the estimated 2.4 million cases of food poisoning in the UK each year.

Follow these tips to keep your festive season truly the most wonderful time of the year.

  • 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. 
  • If you buy a frozen turkey, check the guidance on the packaging to ensure you have enough time to fully defrost it – it 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 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. 
  • Whether you cooked your turkey from frozen or fresh, your turkey leftovers can be used to make a new meal (turkey curry anyone?). This new meal can then be frozen, but make sure you only reheat it once.  There are some great ideas for using up Christmas leftovers on the Love Food Hate Waste website. 

Martyn Alvey, portfolio holder for environment and climate change at Cornwall Council, said: “Cooking a Christmas roast for a large gathering can be a challenge, and it is vital that the turkey, or any other meat, is stored, defrosted and cooked correctly. Likewise, leftovers from Christmas need to be reheated and eaten within specific timeframes to avoid any danger of food poisoning. 
 
“That’s why Cornwall 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.” 
 
Nick Kelly, Cornwall Council Food and Health & Safety Manager said: “The four Cs of food hygiene: Chilling, Cleaning, Cooking and avoiding Cross-contamination are important throughout the year, but especially at Christmas.  Follow the advice to keep you and your family safe from food poisoning.” 

Story posted 20 December 2021

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