A Christmas food safety campaign is encouraging people to make sure their festive feast is one to remember for all the right reasons.
Durham County Council is working with the Food Standards Agency to share key messages from its national Season’s Eatings campaign, advising people how to prepare and cook their Christmas meal in a hygienic and safe way.
A bout of festive food poisoning is never fun, but it can also have serious consequences, especially for children, people who are already in ill-health and older people.
From chilling to cooking and cleaning to avoiding cross-contamination, the campaign offers advice and tips for staying healthy and well this Christmas:
- 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.
- Check the guidance on your turkey, or other bird, to ensure you have enough time to fully defrost it – it could take as much as 4 days.
- Don’t wash raw meat; 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.
- You can use previously cooked and frozen turkey to make a new meal, such as a turkey curry. This new meal can be frozen, but make sure you only reheat it once.
Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of environmental health and consumer protection, said: “The key to a happy and healthy festive season is to be vigilant when preparing Christmas food, particularly with turkey and other raw meats. Following the Season’s Eatings top tips, including everything from shopping and storage to defrosting and cooking, will ensure that everyone can stay well enough to fully enjoy not only their meals, but the rest of the holidays too.”