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Christmas Turkey pictureDuring this season of festive cheer, one gift you don’t want to give to family and friends is food poisoning.

NB. This advice is useful for any celebration meal, feast or banquet you may be planning throughout the year.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has prepared a Guide to safe preparation and cooking for your Christmas meal.

Follow this food safety advice and guidance and your Christmas meal will be one to remember – for all the right reasons.

Food Safety advice from the Food Standards Agency

The FSA Christmas meal article and website provides advice in the following areas:

    1. First choose your bird
      • Think about the size of your turkey, how you’ll store it and how you’ll cook it.
    2. Easy defrosting
      • If it’s frozen you must allow time to defrost it thoroughly before starting to cook it. Remove the giblets from the chest cavity will help to reduce the time needed.
    3. Careful cooking
      • Calculate the cooking time and work backwards to create a schedule for Christmas day food preparation.
    4. Your goose is cooked
      • There are several alternatives to Turkey, such as goose, duck, pheasant, rabbit and so on. Check specific cooking times for each option.
    5. Thermometers and probes
      • Some turkeys are supplied with pop-up timers, or you might buy a probe or sensor. Double-check that the turkey is thoroughly cooked though.
    6. Advance planning
      • If your Christmas day schedule requires it you can cook the turkey in advance and re-heat it thoroughly on Christmas day.
    7. Using leftovers
      • Left-over Turkey can be stored in a fridge for a day or two, but again there are guidelines for food safety.
    8. Vegetables
      • Vegetables and fruit can harbour harmful bacteria and should be washed and prepared carefully.
    9. Cross-contamination
      • Bacteria can spread from raw meat and vegetables onto worktops, chopping boards, knives, towels, in the fridge etc, and contaminate other food resulting in illness.  Take precautions with preparation, storage and re-heating food.

You can view the full article at the FSA Website here.

This food safety advice is valid all year round, if you are planning a celebration meal, for example for Easter, Birthdays, Anniversaries, Thanksgiving, or other occasion.