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FSA Release Guidelines On Turkey Preparation

1:39 pm

Many traditions occur during this festive time of year, one of the biggest and perhaps most anticipated (by adults) are the mountains of food we are suddenly allowed to consume ‘because it’s Christmas’. And what Christmas day would be complete without the greatly anticipated Christmas dinner. The turkeys have been bought and sit securely in the freezer, but do you really know how to prepare it safely?

The Food Standard Agency has released brand new guidelines to ensure you prepare and store your raw and cooked meat correctly, avoiding any Christmas day disasters from bacteria or cross contamination.

Essential turkey tips
Defrosting your turkey correctly is imperative; if you cook meat that is still slightly frozen harmful bacteria could survive the cooking process. Defrosting times will vary depending on the size of your turkey so always check the retailer’s instructions on the packaging.

Do NOT wash your turkey or any other poultry or meat. This will spread harmful bacteria such as campylobacter onto your sink, countertops and it could even splash onto utensils and everything else in reach. Cooking thoroughly will kill any bacteria present.

Always store turkey and other raw meat in the fridge until you wish to cook it. By keeping food chilled, the chance of poisonous germs growing is greatly reduced.

Fridge temperatures should always be regulated and stay between 0 and 5°C. This can be monitored easily with an inexpensive fridge thermometer such as this one from Hygiplas. This particular thermometer is suitable for both fridges and freezers and features a visual alarm which will go off if the temperature goes outside the desired range. It also has a large, easy to read display, which can be positioned outside the fridge, allowing you to determine the internal temperature without having to open the door.

For fridges to keep a constant temperature the cold air needs to circulate efficiently. Christmas often brings with it masses of food for parties and gatherings which can lead to over packing your fridge. This will stop cool air from getting to certain areas of the fridge making the temperature rise, so make sure you have a reasonable amount of free space.

Cross-contamination can easily occur when raw and cooked foods are placed close together in a small space. To stop this from happening always cover raw meat and keep it on the bottom shelf of your fridge so it doesn’t leak or drip onto ready-to-eat items. Keeping it in a sealed container will stop any juices from contaminating surfaces. Our containers from SealFresh feature an airtight seal preventing any liquids from leaking.

Cook thoroughly and always check the retailer’s instructions for cooking times. To check your turkey is ready cut into the thickest part, none of the meat should be pink and any juices should run clear.

Boxing Day turkey rolls are a tradition in many households around the UK but leftovers should always be allowed to cool after cooking. Once cooled, cover with foil and place in the fridge away from any raw meat. Use leftovers within two days and if reheating ensure meat is piping hot all the way through.

Where ever you are spending the big day, we hope you have a wonderful time and a very Merry Christmas from all at Nisbets.

By Eva Parks


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