Avoid the unwanted gift of food poisoning this Christmas

Published Tuesday, 17 December 2019

There are an estimated one million cases of food poisoning in the UK every year, and without attention to food hygiene, this doesn’t stop during the festive season.

To save your loved ones from a nasty bout of food poisoning over the holidays, follow these Food Standards Agency tips from Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council to keep your festive season truly the most wonderful time of the year. 

Top tips

  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
  2. Check the guidance on your turkey to ensure you have enough time to fully defrost it – it could take as much as four days
  3. Don’t wash raw turkey; it just splashes germs onto your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops
  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
  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

Executive Member for Environmental Health at Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council, Councillor Martin Cartwright commented:

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. 

This is why the Borough Council are supporting the Food Standards Agency in helping you to relieve some of the stress of preparing your Christmas meal and to keep your family safe during the festive period. I’d like to wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas.

The Food Standards Agency is keen to remind people of the 'four Cs' of food hygiene: Chilling, Cleaning, Cooking and avoiding Cross-contamination are important throughout the year, but especially at Christmas.

Christmas is also a significant period of food waste. Love Food Hate Waste estimates over 100,000 tonnes of edible poultry, 96,000 tonnes of carrots and 710,000 tonnes of potatoes are thrown away each year in the UK.

The FSA urges everyone to think hygienically when storing, cooking, reusing and freezing food to help keep your Christmas safe and to minimise food waste over the festive period.

More information on Christmas food hygiene (food.gov.uk/seasons-eatings) or follow @foodgov #SeasonsEatings on Twitter for tips and advice throughout the festive period.