The people of Derry are being urged to be careful when preparing food this festive season.
Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Environmental Health Food Team, in partnership with the Food Standards Agency, are encouraging the public to make the right choices to avoid food poisoning this Christmas.
The Season’s Eatings campaign is offering helpful safety and hygiene tips and advice for the preparation of food during the Christmas celebrations.
New research indicates that people in Northern Ireland could be putting themselves and their families at risk of food poisoning through a lack of knowledge of the four Cs of food hygiene, chilling, cooking, cleaning and avoiding cross contamination.
Seamus Donaghy, Head of Health and Community Wellbeing at Derry City and Strabane District Council, urged people to be particularly cautious when preparing food for larger groups.
“Cooking a Christmas roast for a large gathering can be a challenge and it is vital that the turkey or other meat of the meal, is stored, defrosted and cooked correctly,” he said.
“Likewise, leftovers from Christmas need to be reheated and consumed within specific timeframes in order to avoid food poisoning.
“This is why we are supporting the Food Standards Agency in helping you to relieve some of the stress of preparing your Christmas meal and to keep your family safe during the festive period.”
Council and the Food Standards Agency are encouraging people to adhere to five top tips to keep your festive season truly the most wonderful time of the year.
Kathryn Baker, Head of Local Authority, Policy and Delivery at the Food Standards Agency, added: “The four Cs of food hygiene: Chilling, Cleaning, Cooking and avoiding Cross-contamination are important throughout the year, but especially at Christmas.
“In the flurry of preparing the Christmas meal, it’s important to remember to plan ahead and allow plenty of time. Remember that an average-sized turkey can take four days to fully thaw in the fridge, and it is vital to thoroughly cook a turkey so that the meat is steaming hot, there is no pink meat visible, and meat juices run clear.”
For more information visit: www.food.gov.uk/seasons-eatings or follow @foodgov #SeasonsEatings on Twitter for tips and advice throughout the festive period.
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