Food safety during the holiday season is crucial, and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has some key insights to ensure both a safe Christmas and minimal food waste. Here’s the lowdown:

To prevent food poisoning and maintain freshness, store raw meat and fish on the bottom fridge shelf, separately from ready-to-eat foods. Keep the turkey and ready-to-eat items apart, even during your initial shopping spree.

Maintain your fridge at 5°C or lower to preserve the quality of your turkey.

When defrosting your turkey, plan ahead. Thaw it in the fridge to ensure even defrosting—allow about 10–12 hours per kg or follow specific package instructions. Avoid defrosting at room temperature.

Hygiene matters! Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces thoroughly after handling raw meat. Contrary to belief, avoid washing the turkey before cooking, as it can spread germs.

Cook the stuffing separately from the turkey to ensure thorough cooking. If there are no cooking instructions, the FSA suggests specific cooking times per kilogram based on the turkey’s weight.

Ensure the turkey is fully cooked by checking for steam, no pink meat, and clear juices. Use a thermometer if available.

Leftovers are common, so freeze them promptly within 1-2 hours of cooling to room temperature. Food remains safe in the freezer for an extended period of time, but beware of freezer burns. To prevent it, consume meat within 2–3 months, bake goods, and produce within 3–4 months after freezing.

When ready to enjoy leftovers, defrost slowly in the fridge or using a microwave’s defrost setting. Consume within 24 hours after defrosting, and avoid refreezing. Enjoy your second Christmas meal without compromising safety!

Have a safe Christmas!

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