Avoid a Cooking Catastrophe this Christmas
With many more people having Christmas dinner at home this year, South Tyneside Council is reminding people about the importance of food safety.
The turkey is a key element of the traditional Christmas feast. However undercooked or raw turkey could cause food poisoning and have serious consequences, especially for children, people already in ill-health and older people.
With many families expected to enjoy a roast turkey on Christmas day, they are encouraged to follow food hygiene advice to ensure an illness-free festive season.
Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: "The coronavirus pandemic is on a lot of people's minds this Christmas and, rightly so. In order to keep themselves and loved ones safe, it is essential that they follow the rules in place.
"However, the pandemic also means that many more people, who would normally go out for their Christmas dinner, may now be planning to cook a Christmas dinner at home, perhaps for the very first time.
"With that in mind, we are reminding families of the importance of food hygiene while preparing the Christmas turkey.
"Despite having fewer guests around the dinner table this year, cooking at Christmas can still be quite stressful as it means having to work around various defrosting and cooking times for food as well as making sure the food is stored and prepared safely.
"However, by following basic food safety advice, such as keeping raw food - whether it's turkey or vegetables - separate from ready-to-eat foods, families can cook their turkey with confidence and ensure their celebrations are a great success."
Residents are advised to follow these helpful festive food safety tips to avoid getting ill from food:
- When Christmas food shopping, take enough bags to separate out raw and ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination;
- Check the guidance on the turkey to ensure there is enough time to defrost it fully - it could take as long as four days;
- Don't wash raw turkey; it splashes 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;
- 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.