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).
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.
* 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