banner unionsafete

The Oldest Meal Yule Ever Eat

One in five of us will risk food poisoning this year by eating old turkey leftovers, according to a survey by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The survey looked into the eating habits of UK consumers at Christmas and showed that those in the south east of England (30%) were most likely to keep turkey leftovers in the fridge for up to a week, way past the recommended two day limit. People in Scotland and the north east of England were the quickest to munch through their turkey leftovers.

There are more than 850,000 cases of food poisoning a year in the UK, which costs the economy upwards of £1.5 billion a year. Nearly 500 people die in the UK from foodborne disease each year.

2,148 people took part in the UK-wide survey run by TNS CAPI Omnibus December 2007.

Judith Hilton, Head of Microbiological Safety, Food Standards Agency, said: "We all hate to waste food, but by eating week-old turkey from the fridge, you could be asking for trouble. For the very young, elderly or those with another serious illness, it could be fatal.

There are better ways of eating and storing leftover turkey which won’t expose you to festive food poisoning. Remember, if you've stored cooked turkey in the fridge, eat it within two days or if you want to make your turkey leftovers last longer, pop them in the freezer as soon as they’re cool. Although we all like to push the boat out at Christmas, try not to buy more turkey than you need."

The best way to avoid festive food poisoning this Christmas is to follow the 4 C's of good food hygiene:

* Cleaning – always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before preparing food and after handling raw meat or poultry. Make sure your worktops are clean.

* Cooking – cook your turkey all the way through until it’s piping hot, the juices run clear and there’s no pink meat. Always reheat leftovers until they’re piping hot.

* Chilling – check your fridge is at the right temperature – ideally between 0-5°C to help stop germs growing. Cool your leftovers quickly (preferably in one or two hours) and put them in the fridge or freezer.

* Avoid cross-contamination – use different chopping board and knives for raw meat and foods that are ready to eat, such as salads and raw vegetables. This will help to stop germs spreading. Keep your raw turkey on the bottom shelf of the fridge separate from other foods.

More information on food safety at Christmas, including defrosting, cooking and storing, as well as recipes for leftover turkey, can be found here

Designed, Hosted and Maintained by Union Safety Services