Sunday, 18 December 2011

Channelling a safer Christmas meal

The Food Standards Agency has teamed up with Channel 4 to sponsor its Christmas recipe web pages over the holiday season. This allows the Agency to highlight its Christmas food hygiene and safety messages to a wider audience as they plan their Christmas menus.

Unless you take care, food poisoning can be an unwelcome Christmas guest. The Agency has a range of information to help, including tips for preparing and cooking your turkey. But keeping Christmas dinner safe is not just about taking care with turkey. Recent Agency research found that consumers are aware of the risk of harmful germs from raw meat, but are less aware of the risks from raw vegetables.

Bob Martin, food safety expert at the Food Standards Agency, said: "Preparing Christmas dinner can be a challenge, as most of us aren’t used to cooking for so many people. It can be easy to make mistakes in the kitchen that increase the risk of food poisoning.

"One of the main rules to remember is to avoid cross-contamination from raw meat or poultry on to other foods. Keep all raw food, whether it’s your turkey or vegetables, separate from ready-to-eat foods. Always wash your hands before and after handling food but don't wash your turkey, as that will only spread germs. Instead, make sure that it gets cooked properly, and that means right the way through.

"There are around a million cases of food poisoning over the year, but following some simple steps in the kitchen can help protect you and your family."

For advice and information on preparing a safe Christmas dinner, go to the link below.
www.food.gov.uk/safereating/hyg/turkey

(EDITOR: And when you are eating out, always ensure you visit an establishment that is fully compliant with food hygiene standards. You can check out eating places, takeaway and delivery services, food shops, etc., at www.scoresonthedoors.org.uk. If your local council does not yet participate in the Scores on the Doors scheme, ask them why they are not.)

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