Don’t let food poisoning ruin your Christmas

Health experts from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are urging us all not to wash our Christmas turkey before putting in the oven.

Washing your turkey means that bugs can be spread on to your taps, bowl, hands and clothes. Instead, they recommend carefully unwrapping it and putting it straight into the roasting pan.

This simple tip is one of many that the FSA is offering to help us all stay well over the festive season. From buying turkey, right through to storing leftovers, there are a number of food hygiene tips that you can follow to protect your loved ones.

Top turkey tips

  • 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 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 the meat juices run clear.

Whether you cooked your turkey from frozen or fresh, 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.

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.

“We have put together the Let’s Talk Turkey guide, which offers tips around chilling, cleaning, cooking and avoiding cross-contamination, while also explaining some of the science behind our advice.”

For more food safety information and tips this Christmas, visit the FSA website or follow @foodgov #LetsTalkTurkey on Twitter.