05/12/17: Keep food poisoning off the menu this Christmas

With two thirds of UK households choosing to have roast turkey for their Christmas dinner according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), Breckland Council is lending its support to the FSA's campaign to help people prepare their turkey at home safely and enjoy Christmas dinner. 

From buying the meat through to storing leftovers, there are a number of food hygiene tips to follow that will protect you and your love loved ones over the festive period.

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 long as four days to defrost thoroughly
• Don't wash raw turkey because it just splashes germs onto your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops.
• To work out the cooking time for your bird, always check the instructions on the packaging 
• The meat is cooked when it is steaming hot throughout, there is no pink meat visible when you cut into the thickest part and the 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 Alison Webb, Executive Member for People and Information commented: "For many of us, Christmas isn't Christmas without a turkey. However, cooking for a group of people isn't easy, from having to think about various defrosting and cooking times, to ensuring that we're storing all the food safely. Undercooked turkey can make people seriously unwell, especially children, those who are already in ill-health, pregnant woman and older people, which is why Breckland Council is supporting the Food Standards Agency in helping to raise awareness of cooking and eating Christmas dinner with confidence."

Dr Kevin Hargin, Head of Foodborne Disease Control at the FSA, added: "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." 

You can download this guide via Food Standards Agency Let's Talk Turkey or follow @foodgov and #LetsTalkTurkey on Twitter for tips throughout the festive period.