Addmaster’s Paul Morris has recently featured in the Daily Express and on BBC Radio Stoke (1:26:20 in), Shropshire (2:18:00) and Coventry & Warwickshire (2:41:00) providing expert opinion on how to avoid food poisoning this Christmas.
While most of us know that undercooked poultry, including chicken and turkey, can pose a risk of infection, it’s the hidden danger of contaminated packaging that can have serious implications.
Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK, with over 280,000 cases confirmed each year and studies have shown that up 7% of poultry packaging on sale in the UK is contaminated with the pathogen.
So to make sure your Christmas dinner isn’t blighted by a nasty infection, follow Paul’s step-by-step guide for the hygienic way to prepare your turkey:
1. Taking your turkey home
“I would urge everyone to be alert from the moment they select their turkey of choice.
“Recent FSA research has shown that bacteria from packaging can transfer to the outer lining of a Bag For Life, so be sure to use separate bags for raw meat, ready-to-eat food and non-food items.”
“If there is one thing you guarantee there is space for in the fridge this Christmas, make it the turkey.
“You should ensure that your refrigerator remains between the temperature of 0c and 5c. A fridge thermometer might be a wise investment to keep tabs on this.
“Also, make sure you store your turkey below ready-to-eat food to avoid any meat juices dripping and spreading bacteria.”
“If you’re opting for a frozen bird this year, make sure you give it enough time to fully defrost before cooking.
“For defrosting in the fridge you should allow eight hours per kilogram, while at room temperature you should aim for around three hours per kilogram. This process should be completed by December 23 so you are able to leave it in the fridge for two days once fully defrosted.”
“One of my biggest tips is to avoid washing or rinsing the bird before cooking at all costs. Bacteria can otherwise spread very quickly across kitchen work surfaces and other equipment, raising the risk of infection.
“Once in the oven, ensure thorough cooking of the turkey - the temperature should be reaching at least 75c in the thickest part of the meat. Don’t just rely on the colour of the meat to judge you have cooked it properly. Instead invest in a meat thermometer, like the ETI Thermapen with Biomaster.”
5. Cold turkey
“Once the Christmas turkey is carved, check any leftovers are cool before covering and storing in your fridge and ensure it doesn’t come into contact with raw meat.
“Be sure to get all your turkey sandwiches, curries or pies eaten within two days, or you can freeze the rest of the meat if you’re not likely to finish it off straight away.”