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Food hygiene tips to follow this festive season

Put food hygiene at the top of your Christmas list and avoid the gift that no-one wants… food poisoning.

If you are preparing a feast at home, there are some important tips that will help keep you safe and ensure that your festive season is joyful rather than painful.

  • When Christmas food shopping, make sure you 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 much as four days.
  • Don’t wash raw turkey; it just splashes germs onto your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops.
  • Work out the cooking time for your bird by checking the instructions on the packaging. Check that the meat is steaming hot throughout, that there is no pink meat visible when you cut into the thickest part, and that 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.

The advice comes from the Food Standards Agency and Bridgend County Borough Council.

There are an estimated one million cases of food poisoning in the UK every year, and many occur during the festive season. Please follow this guidance to save you and your loved ones from a nasty bout of food poisoning over the holidays.

Cooking a Christmas roast for a large gathering can be a challenge, and it is vital that the turkey, or other meat of the meal, is stored, defrosted and cooked correctly. Likewise, leftovers from Christmas need to be reheated and consumed within specific timeframes in order to avoid food poisoning.

Councillor Dhanisha Patel, member of the Shared Regulatory Service Joint Committee

Adam Hardgrave, Head of Foodborne Disease Control at the Food Standards Agency, said: “The four Cs of food hygiene: Chilling, Cleaning, Cooking and avoiding Cross-contamination are important throughout the year, but especially at Christmas. In the flurry of preparing the Christmas meal, it’s important to remember to plan ahead and allow plenty of time.”

For more information visit the ‘Seasons Eatings’ pages on the Food Standards Agency website or follow @foodgov #SeasonsEatings on Twitter for tips and advice throughout the festive period.

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