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Christmas Turkey

Let’s talk turkey

With two thirds of UK households choosing to have roast turkey for their Christmas dinner, Food Standards Agency (FSA) are offering tips on how you can safely prepare turkey at home.

The winter festive period is a time for people to celebrate which involves indulging in feasting on your favourite Christmas meals and treats.

Cooking food properly and storing it appropriately are important when enjoying meals and entertaining family and friends to avoid anyone becoming unwell from food.

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 and make sure you’re eating meat in the safest way.

Top turkey tips:

  • When Christmas food shopping, take sufficient bags with you so that you can separate out raw meat 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 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.

Dr Kevin Hargin, Head of Foodborne Disease Control at the FSA, comments: “Every year, there are an estimated 1 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.”

Councillor Ranjit Dheer, cabinet member for community services and safety, 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 Ealing Council are supporting the Food Standards Agency in helping you to cook your festive bird with confidence this Christmas.”

If you are eating out, look for the star-rating sticker displayed on the window or door to find out the business’s food hygiene score. If you think somewhere looks unclean, do not eat there and make sure you report it to the council’s food hygiene team on 020 8825 6666 or via email foodsafety@ealing.gov.uk.

For more food safety information this Christmas, visit www.food.gov.uk and www.britishturkey.co.uk.

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