Away from work and our food safety systems, it’s easy to relax our food safety at home, so thanks to the Food Safety Information Council here is a reminder that you can share, on keeping home meals safe.
1. Talk to friends and family to work out who brings what.
Arrange to prepare and cook riskier foods like meat, seafood, turkey and fresh dairy or egg based desserts at home. Those travelling long distances could bring less risky foods such as cakes, biscuits, and Christmas puddings.
2. Turkey lovers be smart.
Turkeys can be big birds and a big problem if you don’t have a plan, so before buying a huge frozen turkey, read the label! Whole turkeys can take several days to defrost in the fridge, and hours to cook properly. A part turkey, such as a breast, or turkey roll will be much easier to defrost and cook to perfection.
If you still opt for the whole turkey, ask your butcher or supplier to defrost the turkey in their cool room so you can pick it up in time for Christmas and refrigerate. Whether full turkey or turkey roll, this meat must be cooked all the way through so use a meat thermometer to check that the temperature in the thickest part reaches 75°C. Because stuffing slows down cooking and cooling, it is best cooked separately.
3. Ham it up at Christmas and beyond.
Your Christmas ham will keep several weeks with proper handling. After reading the packaging labels, remove it from its plastic wrap, cover it with a clean cloth soaked in water and vinegar, so it doesn’t dry out, and store it in the fridge below 5°C.
4. Temperature danger zone.
Food poisoning bacteria can grow rapidly between 5°C and 60°C, so keep hot food hot, and cold food cold – including when transporting food. Use insulated containers or eskys and stack with plenty of ice bricks, frozen gel packs or frozen drinks.
5. Drinks on ice rather than cramming the fridge.
Drinks are “ice cold” if put on ice! A leak proof container outside is best as it keeps the crowd outdoors ensuring the fridge will have a chance at running at 5°C or below.
Tips on Food Safety over Christmas