Let's talk turkey

For many of us, it wouldn't be Christmas without turkey. However, cooking for a crowd can be a lot of pressure, from having to think about various defrosting and cooking times, to ensuring that all the food is stored safely. Raw and undercooked turkey and other poultry can cause food poisoning and have serious consequences especially for children, people already in ill-health and older people. To prevent the unwanted gift of food poisoning please take a few moments to read the advice issued by the Food Standards Agency.

From buying turkey, right through to storing leftovers, there are a number of food hygiene tips that you can follow to protect your loved ones over the festive period.

Top turkey tips

  1. When Christmas food shopping, take sufficient bags with you so that you can separate out raw and ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination.

  2. Check the guidance on your turkey to ensure you have enough time to fully defrost it - it could take as much as 4 days.

  3. Don't wash raw turkey; it just splashes germs onto your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops.

  4. To work out the cooking time for your bird, check the instructions on the packaging. Check that: the meat is steaming hot throughout; there is no pink meat visible when you cut into the thickest part and meat juices run clear.

  5. Whether you cooked your turkey from frozen or fresh, your turkey leftovers can be used to make a new meal (such as a turkey curry). This new meal can then be frozen, but make sure you only reheat it once.


For more food safety information this Christmas, visit www.food.gov.uk/letstalkturkey or follow @foodgov #LetsTalkTurkey on Twitter for tips and advice throughout the festive period.

Turkey infographic