Let’s talk turkey
With two thirds of UK households choosing to have roast turkey for their Christmas lunch, the Shared Regulatory Services team and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are offering tips on how to you can safely prepare turkey at home.
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 over the festive period.
“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.” - Dr Kevin Hargin, Head, Foodborne Disease Control at the FSA
Turkey Tip 1
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.
Turkey Tip 2
Check the guidance on your turkey to ensure you have enough time to fully defrost it – it could take as much as 4 days.
Turkey Tip 3
Don’t wash raw turkey; it just splashes germs onto your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops.
Turkey Tip 4
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.
Turkey Tip 5
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.
Turkey Tip 6
Ensure your cooked meat is kept refrigerated before additional use – do not leave it out on a kitchen worktop where the temperature is perfect for bacteria to multiply quickly.
“Cooking Christmas lunch can often be stressful and time consuming, especially when preparing for a large group of people. This might lead some to cut corners by not washing hands after touching raw meat and perhaps not cooking the turkey for the minimum required time.
Raw and undercooked turkey can cause food poisoning and have serious consequences especially for children, people already in ill-health and older people. It’s important to remember that it’s the cooking process the kills the bacteria in the turkey. Washing a turkey cannot do this – in fact, the germs will spread far and wide with the splashing of the water. This is why we are supporting the Food Standards Agency’s message to help you cook your festive bird with confidence this Christmas.” - Chair of the Joint Committee for Shared Regulatory Services, Cllr Dhanisha Patel
For more food safety information this Christmas including tips and advice throughout the festive period visit the Food Standards Agency website or follow FSA and SRS on Twitter: