Avoid a Cooking Disaster this Christmas
Residents of South Tyneside are being reminded about the importance of food safety to ensure they can fully enjoy Christmas this year.
With turkey being the traditional centre piece of the Christmas meal, people are being encouraged to follow food hygiene advice when preparing and cooking it at home.
Councillor Jim Foreman, Lead Member for Housing and Community Safety at South Tyneside Council, said: "An undercooked or raw turkey can lead to food poisoning, which can be extremely serious, especially for children, elderly people and those in poor health.
"There are an estimated 2.4 million cases of food poisoning each year in this country, so it's important to get it right.
"When preparing a turkey, we are advising people to follow the Food Standards Agency's '4Cs' of cleaning, chilling, cooking and avoiding cross-contamination.
"With the ongoing cost of living crisis, many people will also be looking to make their food go further this Christmas. It is vital to think 'food safety' when preparing leftovers."
Residents are advised to follow these safety tips to avoid getting poorly over the festive season:
- Check the guidance on the turkey to ensure there is enough time to defrost it fully - it could take as long as five days in a cold chiller, based on the size of the turkey;
- Defrost the turkey in the fridge. Always defrost the turkey in a container large enough to catch the liquid that comes out during thawing. This is to avoid cross-contamination. Use a covered dish at the bottom of the fridge so that it cannot drip onto other foods. Always wash hands thoroughly after handling any part of the raw turkey;
- Do not wash raw turkey before cooking; it spreads germs onto hands, clothes, utensils and worktops. Water will not kill the germs that cause food poisoning. The germs will be killed by thoroughly cooking the turkey;
- To work out the cooking time for the bird, check the instructions on the packaging. Check that the meat is steaming hot throughout, there is no pink meat visible when cutting into the thickest part and the meat juices run clear;
- Cook your stuffing in a separate roasting tin, not inside the turkey. A stuffed turkey will take longer to cook and may not cook thoroughly if it has not reached the correct temperature throughout.
- Whether turkey is cooked from frozen or fresh, leftovers can be used to make a new meal (such as turkey curry). This new meal can then be frozen, but only reheated once.
For further food safety information visit South Tyneside Council's website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk
More food hygiene tips are available from the Food Standards Agency at www.food.gov.uk