Don’t fall fowl of food safety this Christmas

By on 01/12/2014 in News

Christmas turkeyWith Christmas fast approaching, people are being urged to ensure their festive feast is prepared safely.

So whether you’re cooking a goose, stuffing a turkey or roasting a chicken, Birmingham City Council’s environmental health team will be offering food safety tips during a series of roadshows during December.

Shoppers visiting the city can pick up food hygiene and safety tips at the Bull Ring Indoor Market, Edgbaston Street, on December 8, 10, 18 and 19.

The roadshows will cover a wide range of common queries, including:

  • Safe defrosting and cooking times for poultry
  • Food storage: Smart fridge use and storing leftovers
  • General hygiene: Hand washing and safe food preparation
  • Understanding use by and best before dates
  • Heathy food options for Christmas

According to the Food Standards Agency, most food poisoning cases are reported in December, the majority of which result from poultry that’s not been cooked or prepared properly.

Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “Many people suffer food poisoning over the Christmas holidays, often because they fail to follow basic food safety and hygiene rules, so these roadshows will help people ensure their dinner isn’t ruined.

“Our environmental health team will be on hand to provide lots of simple tips on how to prepare a delicious Christmas meal safely, to avoid any upsets over the holiday period.â€

The roadshows, which will be held at Plot 53 (the former herbs and spices stand), will also feature activities and quizzes around correct storage, hand washing and food hygiene.

The roadshows will be run between 9am and 4pm on December 8, 10 and 18, and between 9am and 3pm on December 19.


Notes to editors:

Nick Lowe, Operations Manager Food is available for media interviews by request. Please contact the press office with any bids.

Christmas food safety tips

Prep your kitchen for Christmas: Clean each and every corner of your kitchen including the sink, shelves, cupboards and utensils. Extra care should be given to cleaning your fridge and defrosting your freezer.

Always wash your hands: Wash your hands thoroughly, using soap and hot water, before handling food.  Also wash your hands after handling raw foods – including meat, fish, eggs and vegetables – touching bins, going to the toilet, blowing your nose or touching pets.

Don’t wash your turkey: Washing raw turkey is unnecessary and can spread germs – such as campylobacter, which is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK – by splashing onto chopping boards, work surfaces, dishes and utensils.  Cooking a turkey thoroughly will kill any germs.

Food preparation: Wash worktops before and after preparing food, particularly, especially after they’ve been touched by raw meat.

Wash dishcloths and tea towels: Keep dishcloths and tea towels clean and let them dry before you use them again. Dirty and damp cloths are the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria.

Washing fruit and vegetables: Wash your fruit and vegetables under cold running water before you eat them. This helps to remove visible dirt and germs that may be on the surface.

Cooking: Cooking food at the correct temperature will ensure that any harmful bacteria are killed. Check that food is piping hot throughout before you eat it.

Cleaning up: Ensure all worktops and chopping boards are washed before and after cooking, as these can often be a source of cross-contamination.

Fridge storage: When preparing food, make sure it is kept out of the fridge for the shortest time possible. Try not to overload your fridge and make sure the running temperature is below 5ºC.

Storing meat: Raw meat and poultry should be stored in clean sealable containers or on a covered plate or tray at the bottom of the fridge. This prevents them from dripping onto other food.

Freezing and defrosting: Only freeze meat or fish before their use by date.  Make sure you allow enough time to defrost your turkey:  in a cool room (below 17.5ºC) allow approximately three to four hours per kg, or longer if the room is particularly cold.  Larger turkeys can take up to 48 hours to thaw.

Love leftovers: If you have cooked food that you’re not going to eat straight away, cool it as quickly as possible and store it in the fridge or freezer. Use leftovers within two days and reheat till steaming hot. Do not reheat leftovers more than once.

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