Have a safe and healthy festive season

Published Date: 

24 Dec 2013 - 13:34

Argyll and Bute Council is wishing everyone a safe and healthy festive season, with tips on defrosting and cooking your turkey, fish and other meats; and storing and reheating leftovers.

With information supplied by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the council is promoting safer Christmas eating, in particular with poultry and other meats.

The council’s Policy Lead for Protective Services, Councillor David Kinniburgh, said: “It is easy in the midst of the hectic preparations, festivities and family gatherings to forget how important food safety is. That is understandable, and we hope to help by providing these easy to follow tips.

“Please don’t allow the bacteria that cause food poisoning to ruin your festive holidays. Enjoy your celebrations but please take care.”

Food safety basics:

Defrosting and cooking the turkey

If your turkey is frozen, make sure it's properly defrosted before you cook it. If it's still partially frozen, recommended cooking times won't be long enough to cook it thoroughly. This means bacteria that cause food poisoning could survive the cooking process. The FSA have a defrosting and cooking calculator on their website at: http://www.eatwellscotland.org/healthydiet/seasonsandcelebrations/winter/saferchristmaseating/index.html

These are the three main ways to tell if poultry is cooked:

  • the meat should be steaming hot all the way through
  • when you cut into the thickest part of the meat, none of the meat should be pink
  • if juices run out when you pierce the turkey, or when you press the thigh, they should be clear


Storing and reheating cooked food

It's very important to keep cooked meat and poultry in the fridge. If they are left out at room temperature, food poisoning bacteria can grow and multiply. So, after you have carved your turkey (or other bird), cool any leftovers as quickly as possible (within one to two hours), cover them and put them in the fridge.

If you're reheating leftover food, always make sure it's steaming hot all the way through before you eat it. And don't reheat more than once. Ideally, try to use leftovers within 48 hours.

For information on healthy and safe eating at Christmas go to the Food Standards Agency website