Half of Northern Ireland people ‘at risk of Christmas food poisoning’

Half of people in Northern Ireland will risk food poisoning this Christmas by washing their turkey before cooking it, new research has found.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 6:00 am
Chef Stephen Jeffers with Dr Gary Kearney from Safefood
Chef Stephen Jeffers with Dr Gary Kearney from Safefood

Safefood, which conducted the poll of 500 adults, said this can spread food poisoning germs around kitchen surfaces and on to ready-to-eat foods.

The poll also found that 30% will be cooking their first ever Christmas dinner this year while a quarter have only cooked it once or twice before.

More than one in four people also admitted experiencing a Christmas dinner cooking disaster.

The most common Christmas dinner catastrophes were; overcooking or undercooking the turkey (30%); forgetting to turn on the oven (17%), and the turkey not fitting in the oven (17%).

A cooker or oven malfunction (18%); serving up cold food by mistake (13%) and overcooking the vegetables (10%) were also found to be common mishaps.

The research was commissioned by Safefood as they launch their campaign to take the stress out of Christmas cooking.

Dr Linda Gordon, chief specialist in food science at Safefood, said the research shows even the “most confident home cooks can find preparing Christmas dinner a challenge”.

“Whatever cooking method, timings or recipes you use, you know your turkey is properly cooked when there’s no pink meat in the thickest part of the breast and thigh, the juices run clear and the meat is piping hot throughout,” she added.

“If you have Christmas leftovers, these should be covered and placed in the fridge within two hours of cooking and used within three days. If you’re reheating leftovers, remember to reheat them only once until they’re piping hot.”

Chef Stephen Jeffers said: “Being prepared is the key, so if you have a clear idea of what you are doing and follow proper food hygiene practices, you’re off to a great start.”

For more, see www.safefood.eu.