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Wishing you a safe Christmas

Date: 27/11/2008           Category: Community Safety

Christmas is coming, your guests are demanding to be fed, but how do you ensure you don’t accidentally give your relatives food poisoning during the festive season? Medway Council’s Environmental Health team has drawn up a top tips list to ensure everyone knows when their turkey’s cooked and avoid hazards in the kitchen. 1. Clean your fridge and freezer with an antibacterial cleaner before stocking up for Christmas. This will get rid of any nasty bugs and spores. 2. Don't overstock your fridge or freezer as it will make it difficult to maintain the right temperature. Food should be stored separately in covered containers and properly wrapped. 3. Avoid cross-contamination by washing your hands after touching or preparing food, and after touching raw meat, coughing, sneezing or touching pets. 4. Frozen turkeys or other poultry must always be thawed thoroughly and fully before cooking. A 15lb turkey will take 24-28 hours to thaw in the fridge; allow two days to defrost a 25lb bird. 5. There’s no need to rinse your turkey under the tap as this may splash harmful bacteria that’s already on the bird around the kitchen and lead to the cross-contamination of other foods. Cooking will kill any bacteria present. 6. Use separate chopping boards and utensils or wash them thoroughly to avoid cross-contamination between raw meat, and any cooked or ready-to-eat foods. Use different boards for vegetables, raw and cooked meats. 7. Cook your stuffing separately. If you do stuff your uncooked bird, make sure you take the stuffing weight into account when calculating your cooking time. 8. Poultry, sausages and chopped and minced meat must always be thoroughly cooked. Check there are no pink bits in the middle, that the juices run clear and that they are piping hot throughout. 9. Don’t use raw eggs in food that will not be cooked. Use pasteurised egg if you are making chocolate mousse or homemade mayonnaise. 10. Always serve hot food piping hot and as soon as it is ready. If there is a delay between heating and eating then keep the food covered and at no less than 63°C. 11. Don’t leave leftovers lying around and make sure hot food cools quickly before putting it in the fridge. To speed cooling: divide into smaller portions, place in shallow containers or stand in a tray of cold water. 11. When you're serving cold turkey, try to take out only as much as you're going to use and leave the rest in the fridge. Don't leave a plate of turkey or cold meats out all day, on a buffet for example. Put it back in the fridge as soon as you can, ideally within an hour. 12. Avoid reheating food more than once - if you reheat leftovers make sure they’re piping hot throughout and don’t keep leftovers for more than two days. For more tips visit www.eatwell.gov.uk