Food Standards Scotland (FSS) is highlighting some of its top tips and advice to help the Scottish public avoid food poisoning over the festive period.
The advice comes after the FSS Food in Scotland Consumer Tracking Survey revealed that just 11% of consumers check their food is cooked to a safe temperature with a thermometer, 21% will eat chicken/turkey which is pink or has pink/red juices, and 60% think they’re unlikely to get food poisoning from food prepared at home.
FSS has produced a Christmas food safety checklist highlighting the best ways of reducing the risks of food poisoning, whether you are doing the cooking or not.
This includes, for instance, recommending everyone cook their Christmas turkeys to 75 degrees Celsius in the thickest part of the bird, while making sure juices run clear and no pink meat is visible.
Also, that any leftovers are stored in containers in the fridge within two hours and then eaten within two days or frozen. And that checking and following use-by dates on all food is critical when planning and cooking over Christmas.
This year, throughout December there will be turkey, duck, capon or goose products which may have been previously frozen and defrosted before being placed on sale as chilled and FSS is reinforcing its advice to always check the label for correct storage and cooking advice.
Jane Horne, Head of Food Protection Science and Surveillance Branch, at FSS commented:
“The festive period is a time when families and friends come together and this often revolves around food, so it is an important point for us to remind consumers of some of the key tips to avoid a potentially Christmas-ruining bout of food poisoning.
“Food poisoning can be terrible for anyone, but it can be more severed for those at higher risk, such as the elderly, young children and those with weakened immune systems.
“We would urge everyone in Scotland to check out our Christmas food safety checklist. Even if you are not doing the cooking, there are food safety tips in there which can help you avoid food poisoning.”
You can find out more about how to prepare, cook and store your turkey on the FSS website.