Borough Council of Wellingborough

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Taking the stress out of Christmas dinner

Published Monday, 11 January 2016

To help people stay safe during the festive season, Wellingborough Council is supporting the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Christmas Food Hygiene Campaign.

Christmas is fast approaching, and as ever looks set to be a busy and potentially stressful time. While 43% of people feel that buying presents is by far the biggest worry at Christmas, cooking Christmas dinner comes second along with family arguments! That’s not surprising considering that nearly a third of people will be eating Christmas dinner with more than seven guests and 45% will spend over five hours preparing and cooking the festive meal.

Amanda Wilcox, health protection manager at Wellingborough Council says, "The Christmas period can also provide challenges when it comes to avoiding food poisoning. Cooking for more people than normal can mean having to handle different defrosting and cooking times for food, making sure that large amounts of food are stored safely, and ensuring that any leftovers are still safe to eat, all while reducing unnecessary food waste.

"We’re happy to support the FSA’s campaign and we wish people a safe and enjoyable Christmas."

Dr Kevin Hargin, Head of Foodborne Disease at the Food Standards Agency, commented: "If you’ve got family over for Christmas, there’s a lot to think about – from present shopping to where everyone’s going to sleep. In that long list of things to consider, it’s very important that food safety isn’t forgotten about. Planning is key, so make sure you follow some straightforward steps to ensure Christmas this year isn’t remembered for all the wrong reasons."

The Food Standards Agency has produced the following tips to ensure everyone has a happy and healthy Christmas.

• Start thinking about the meals you’d like to eat over Christmas, thinking about what you’ll need to buy (and when) and writing a shopping list.

• Cold temperatures slow the growth of germs so make sure your fridge is running at the correct temperature - below 5°C - and is not overcrowded.

• To prevent cross-contamination, ensure that you store raw turkey (and other raw foods) separately from cooked or ready to eat food, covered and chilled on the bottom shelf of the fridge.

• If you are using a frozen turkey, make sure you check how long it will take to defrost safely