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East Riding of Yorkshire Council has shared some tips on food hygiene this Christmas.

For many people, Christmas is a time to relax, enjoy special meals and be merry. But before you start prepping your festive feast, make sure you're clued up on food hygiene.

Thinking about hygiene when storing, cooking, reusing and freezing food will help keep family and friends safe over Christmas and minimise food waste over the festive period.

Storing your food

If you're buying extra food for the holidays, make sure you have the room to store it - especially for items that need to be kept in a fridge or freezer.

Check your fridge is set to the correct temperate (5°C or below) to keep food fresh and safe for longer.

To prevent cross-contamination, store raw food (e.g. meat, poultry, fish, shellfish and veg) separately from cooked and ready-to-eat food. Ideally, keep raw food on the bottom shelf of your fridge.

To avoid food waste, check best before and use-by dates to effectively plan your meals. 

Let's talk turkey

Did you know a whole turkey can take between three and five days to fully defrost?

While some turkeys can be cooked from frozen, most will need defrosting. If your turkey is frozen, check the packaging for guidance on how long it will take to defrost. 

No defrosting advice? You can find defrosting guidance on the Food Standards Agency website: eryc.link/food-hygiene

Check package instructions to work out the cooking time for your turkey. As a general guide, in an oven preheated to 180ºC (350ºF, Gas Mark 4):

  • allow 45 minutes per kg, plus 20 minutes for a turkey that weighs under 4.5kg
  • allow 40 minutes per kg for a turkey that weighs between 4.5kg and 6.5kg
  • allow 35 minutes per kg for a turkey that weighs over 6.5kg

Remember: After touching raw meat, always wash your hands and ensure contact surfaces are thoroughly cleaned.

Don't give loved ones the gift of food poisoning. Make sure your turkey, or other meat, is cooked thoroughly before serving. You can check this by using a meat thermometer. Alternatively, cut into the thickest part of the meat and check none of it is pink and that any juices run clear.

What to do about leftovers

Keep food waste to a minimum by freezing and reusing your leftovers. Love Food Hate Waste has a helpful A-Z on food storage: Food Waste Recipes | Foods & Recipes | LFHW (lovefoodhatewaste.com) to help make your food go further.

Here are our top tips to avoid being wasteful this season:

  • Cool leftovers at room temperature and refrigerate or freeze within one to two hours
  • Label and date anything you freeze, so you can easily see what it is
  • Defrost food slowly and safely in fridge, or thoroughly in a microwave on the defrost setting
  • Reheat food until steaming hot
  • Once defrosted, eat the food within 24 hours
  • Do not refreeze food that has been defrosted.

For more information on festive food hygiene please visit the Food Standards Agency website: eryc.link/food-hygiene


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