FSA offers advice on preparing Christmas dinner

24/12/2007 - 00:00
A total of 80% of people wash their turkeys before cooking them, therefore increasing the risk of food poisoning, according to a survey conducted by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The survey, which looked into the eating habits of UK consumers at Christmas, found that women over the age of 45 were the most frequent turkey-washing offenders and cooks in the north-east of England, with 90% likely to run their raw turkeys under the tap.

The FSA warns against washing meat because harmful bacteria can easily splash from raw meat to poultry to workshops, chopping boards, dishes and utensils.

Judith Hilton, head of Microbiological Safety at the Agency, said: "Most people think they know how to prepare the Christmas meal with their eyes shut. But we've found that there is still a couple of Christmas food safety clangers served up each year. Turkey washing seems to be the most common blunder."

Other results from the survey also show that 17% of people aren't sure how to tell when their turkey is cooked, and 2% of people think they have suffered from festive food poisoning in the past five years.

Celebrity chefs Gary Rhodes and Ainsley Hariott are featuring in the Agency's radio adverts this year to help people avoid serving up food poisoning this Christmas.

For more information on how to prepare Christmas dinner safely email the FSA's turkey experts at turkeymail@foodatandards.gsi.gov.uk

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