With two thirds of UK households opting to have roast turkey for their Christmas dinner, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils are supporting the Food Standards Agency in providing advice on how to safely prepare turkey at home.
From buying the turkey to storing leftovers, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has a number of food hygiene tips to help protect your loved ones over the festive period including:
· When Christmas food shopping, take sufficient bags with you so that you can separate 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 – it could take as long as 4 days to properly defrost.
· Don’t wash raw turkey – this can spread germs onto your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops.
· Check the instructions on the packaging for cooking times. 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.
· You can use previously cooked turkey (even if it was frozen) to make a new meal, such as a turkey curry. This new meal can be frozen, but make sure you only reheat it once.
Cllr Steve Gallant, Suffolk Coastal’s cabinet member for Community Health and Cllr Mary Rudd, cabinet member for Community Health and Safety at Waveney said: “For many of us, it wouldn’t be Christmas without turkey. However, cooking for a crowd can be a lot of pressure, from having to think about various defrosting and cooking times, to ensuring that all the food is stored safely. Raw and undercooked turkey can cause food poisoning and have serious consequences especially for children, people already in ill-health and older people.
“This is why the Councils are supporting the Food Standards Agency in helping you to cook your festive bird with confidence this Christmas.”
Dr Kevin Hargin, Head of Foodborne Disease Control at the FSA said: “Every year, there are an estimated one million cases of food poisoning in the UK; the easiest way to protect your family this Christmas is to ensure you store and cook food safely.”
For more food safety information this Christmas, visit www.food.gov.uk/lets-talk-turkey
or follow @foodgov #LetsTalkTurkey on Twitter for tips and advice throughout the festive period.