We don’t want Santa or our family and friends to suffer food poisoning this Christmas,
so follow these food safety tips…
1.Make sure your hands and kitchen utensils are really clean and dry before you start preparing the meal.
2. Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meats and ready to eat foods.
3. Before preparing foods and between handling raw meat or raw chicken wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water and dry thoroughly.
4. Prepare foods as close as possible to eating time.
5. Before preparing food for Christmas, make sure that there is enough room in the fridge to keep cold food at or less than 5°C.
6. If there is not enough room in the fridge, remember that soft drinks and alcohol, pickles, jams and other acidic condiments do not require refrigeration to remain safe. Drinks can be kept cold in an esky with ice.
7. Plan to leave enough time to defrost the turkey safely. A whole turkey is very big so it can be defrosted either in the fridge or on the bench top. The important thing is to make sure that it’s fully defrosted, even in its centre, before it’s cooked.
8. Better still, ask your butcher or poultry supplier to defrost it for you in their cool room then bring it home and refrigerate it immediately.
9. Defrosting a turkey on the bench top is ok but you must make sure it is thoroughly cooked all the way through to make sure any bacteria are killed – so use a meat thermometer to check that the temperature in the thickest part reaches 75°C.
10. Storing the turkey, chicken or other meat in the fridge correctly also needs thought as it is big and will be competing for space with the drinks, desserts and all the other Christmas goodies. If it is going into the fridge before it’s cooked, it needs to be placed near the bottom of the fridge so that its juices can’t drip on to the ready to eat food such as salads, or placed into a leak proof container.
11. Because stuffing slows down cooking and cooling, it is best cooked separately.
12. A Christmas ham would keep several weeks with proper handling. Once opened, remove it from its plastic wrap, cover with a clean cloth so it doesn’t dry out, and follow any instructions on the packaging.
13. Only slice as much as you will eat at the one sitting as the meat will keep longer unsliced. It should be stored in the fridge above and well away from any raw meat.
14. Seafood should always be purchased from a reputable source, transported home in a cooler and quickly placed in the fridge.
15. Avoid keeping food in the temperature danger zone between 5oC and 60oC where food poisoning bacteria grow best.
16. Keep hot foods steaming hot over 60°C and keep cold foods refrigerated at or below 5°C.
17. Ready to eat food should always be defrosted in the fridge or microwave, never on the bench top, unless the manufacturer recommends that you do so.
18. Cook foods properly. All rolled & stuffed roasts, poultry, sausages, mince dishes need to be fully cooked. Steaks, chops and solid pieces of meat can be eaten rare.
19. If you cook large amounts of food in advance, divide it into smaller portions or shallow containers, cover and place in fridge or freezer. Make sure there is good air circulation around the containers.
20. Refrigerate leftovers immediately after the meal (as soon as it stops steaming).
21. Never store leftovers on the kitchen bench and use refrigerated leftovers within 2 to 3 days.
22. When reheating food ensure that it is steaming hot all the way through (at least 75°C).
23. Your Christmas ham will keep several weeks with proper handling by removing it from its plastic wrap, covering with clean cloth so it doesn’t dry out, and following any instructions on the packaging.