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Cooking and eating safely at Christmas

21 December 2015

​Jersey’s Environmental Health Department has issued a reminder to Islanders about good food hygiene measures for the festive season.​

Head of Environmental Health Stewart Petrie said that his Christmas wish-list was based on cutting out practices that might lead to an increased risk of food poisoning or other more serious harm from food.

“I would start off with the fridge, and out would go large volumes of drink, pickles and preserves to make more room for the ‘perishables’ like turkey, ham, other raw meats and prepared/cooked foods,” he said. “The intention isn’t to be a party pooper, but to highlight the dangers of the stuffed fridge, where temperatures may not be adequate for food preservation. If space is at a premium, drinks can go in the cool box we use in the summer.”

Mr Petrie added “Jersey’s food is as safe as anywhere in the world and our restaurants, cafés and food businesses do a great job. We want to extend the ‘Eat Safe’ message to those who are cooking at home.

“Although people are more aware of the need to be careful about handling, preparing and storing food, there is invariably a jump in food poisoning cases at this time of year. People buy more food, cook more elaborate dishes and entertain more frequently. Too much food is packed into the fridge, food is often left out on tables or counters for long periods and dishes are heated and reheated."

For those with limited time, Environmental Health has even issued a bite-sized summary of the seasonal food safety message. For those caught up in the frenetic rush to Christmas Day, these 29 words will cover it:

"Keep hands and all food preparation surfaces clean, keep raw meat separate from other foods, cook to proper temperatures and refrigerate leftovers quickly. Eating out? Look before you book."

Top 10 tips for an Eat Safe Christmas

  1. Eating Out? View EatSafe
  2. Make a plan for your Christmas meal (top chefs do)
  3. Ensure your fridge is safe (cooked meats and ready-to-eat at the top, raw below)
  4. Defrost the turkey properly before cooking (if possible in the fridge)
  5. Prepare food as close as possible to eating time
  6. Use separate cutting boards for raw and cooked/ready to eat foods
  7. Keep guests and sticky fingers out of the kitchen
  8. Wash your hands thoroughly, and often
  9. Heat all food to the proper temperature (if in doubt, use a thermometer)
  10. Deal with any leftovers quickly. Get them into the fridge or freezer as soon as possible, and if you are reheating make sure they are hot enough

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