It’s the most wonderful time of the year... but that can quickly change if food poisoning strikes.
It’s estimated that there are over a million cases of food poisoning in the UK each year. With many of these happening over the festive season, the Food Standards Agency shares its top tips on keeping your family safe from upset tummies this Christmas.
- Avoid cross-contamination when doing your Christmas food shopping and take plenty of bags so you can pack raw and ready-to-eat food separately.
- Store your turkey and other raw food separately from cooked and ready-to-eat food. Keep raw food covered and chilled on the bottom shelf of the fridge, and regularly check that your fridge is cold enough (below 5°C) – remember, a fridge’s dial is isn’t always accurate! Check the temperature with a fridge thermometer, available from larger supermarkets, home stores and online.
- If your turkey is frozen, make sure you check the guidance on the packaging to ensure you have enough time to fully defrost it. Handy tip – a typical turkey weighting 6 to 7kg could take as up to four days to fully defrost in the fridge.
- Defrost the turkey in a container large enough to catch any juices and always defrost food in the fridge rather than at room temperature.
- Avoid cross-contamination by using different utensils, plates and chopping boards for ready-to-eat food and raw food.
- Don’t wash raw turkey or any other meat – it splashes germs onto your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops.
- Always check that the meat is steaming hot throughout, there is no pink meat visible when you cut into the thickest part, and that the meat juices run clear.
- Cool any leftovers at room temperature, cover them and ensure they go into the fridge or freezer within one to two hours.
- If you freeze cooked meats, eat the food within 24 hours once defrosted.
- When you come to use frozen leftovers, make sure you defrost them thoroughly in the fridge overnight or in the microwave on the defrost setting and then reheat until steaming hot.
Happy Season’s Eatings!
For more information visit: www.food.gov.uk/seasons-eatings
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