Residents are being advised how to avoid food poisoning and make sure their Christmas isn’t a turkey this year.

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Rochdale Borough Council is backing the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) ‘Let’s Talk Turkey’ campaign which offers tips on how to safely prepare turkey at home.

In the UK two thirds of households choose to have roast turkey for their Christmas dinner, which if raw or undercooked could cause food poisoning and have serious consequences especially for children, people already in ill-health and older people.  Every year there are an estimated 1 million cases of food poisoning.

Roast turkey dinner

The campaign aims to help people protect their loved ones from illness over the festive period by providing food hygiene tips covering buying a turkey right through to storing the leftovers safely.

The key points to remember when preparing turkey this Christmas are:

  • When buying food avoid cross-contamination by taking sufficient bags to separate raw and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Check regularly that your fridge is cold enough – it should be below 5°C.
  • Check guidance to ensure you have enough time to fully defrost the turkey – it could take as much as 4 days.
  • Don’t wash raw turkey; it splashes germs onto hands, clothes, utensils and worktops.
  • Work out the turkey’s cooking time by checking the instructions on the packaging.
  • Check that the turkey is cooked thoroughly. The meat should be steaming hot throughout; there should be no pink meat visible when you cut into the thickest part and the meat juices should run clear.
  • Previously cooked turkey (even if it was frozen) can be used to make a new meal, such as a turkey curry. This new meal can be frozen, but make sure it’s only reheated once.

Councillor Jacqueline Beswick, the council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “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 can make people really poorly and ruin your celebrations so it’s important to follow these simple tips and cook your festive bird with confidence.”

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


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