Food Standards Scotland launches festive food safety campaign
Christmas cooks are being urged by Food Standards Scotland to follow simple safety tips when preparing food in the home over the festive season, as part of a new campaign to reduce the number of people contracting food poisoning across Scotland this December.
Despite 43,000 food poisoning infections, 5,800 GP visits and 500 hospital admissions across the country every year, figures show three quarters of Scots (78 per cent) think they’re unlikely to fall ill from food they’ve prepared in their own home.
Glasgow shoppers and commuters will be targeted with food safety advice this week, at both Glasgow Central Station and the Buchanan Galleries.
It’s hoped the advice will lead to more people following the Four Cs of food safety: cleaning, cooking, chilling and avoiding cross-contamination, with specific advice on the storage, preparation and cooking of turkeys and leftovers.
Geoff Ogle, chief executive of Food Standards Scotland warned poor preparation and cooking larger meals than normal is what can lead to a spike in illness.
He said: “Christmas is a time for all the family to come together and enjoy themselves and food plays an important part of that.
“Home cooks are usually preparing larger quantities of food from party snacks to turkey roast dinners. When you’ve got a lot to do in the kitchen and in a hurry you can take your eye off the ball when it comes to hygiene, and when that happens there’s more scope for things to go wrong.”
Geoff Ogle said there are number of simple things that people could do to help reduce food poisoning infections.
He added: “These should include allowing adequate time to defrost your turkey in the bottom of your fridge or somewhere cold: large turkeys can take a couple of days. If it’s not completely de-frosted it can mean inconsistent cooking through the bird and won’t get rid of bugs like campylobacter which can cause food poisoning.
“Also make sure it’s cooked through until the juices run clear, store leftovers in the fridge and eat them within two days unless they’ve been frozen, and re-heat them just once. And keep your fridge temperature at 0-5°C.”