Don't chicken out on cooking your turkey safely

Don't chicken out on cooking your turkey safely

By Antony Clay | 05/12/2017

Don't chicken out on cooking your turkey safely
Cllr David Roche

IF you’re planning to gobble down a turkey this Christmas then take heed of council advice to stop you falling ‘fowl’ of a festive food mishap.

People are being warned to make sure they think about hygiene or feathers may fly if diners get a stomach bug.

Rotherham Borough Council has issued a few top tips to ensure a brilliant bird banquet.

The council, highlighting advice from the Food Standards Agency, said:

  • Take a number of bags when shopping so that raw and ready-to-eat foods can be kept separate reducing the risk of cross-contamination;
  • Make sure you read the guidance so you know how long to defrost the bird;
  • Don’t wash a raw turkey as it splashes germs onto your hands, clothes, worktops and utensils;
  • Make sure you know the exact cooking time for the turkey;
  • Once cooked, make sure the bird is steaming hot throughout and that there is no pink meat when you cut into the thickest part where meat juices should run clear;
  • Turkey leftovers can be used to make a new meal which can then be frozen, but it must only be reheated once.

Cllr David Roche, Rotherham Council’s cabinet member for adult social care and health, urged people to be careful so they don’t end up with an unpleasant bout of sickness.

He said: “For many of us, it wouldn’t be Christmas without turkey. However, cooking for a crowd can be a lot of pressure, from having to think about various defrosting and cooking times, to ensuring that all the food is stored safely. 

“Raw and undercooked turkey can cause food poisoning and have serious consequences especially for children, people already in ill-health and older people.  

“This is why Rotherham Council is supporting the Food Standards Agency in helping you to cook your festive bird with confidence this Christmas.”

Dr Kevin Hargin, head of foodborne disease control at the Food Standards Agency, urged people to follow the organisation’s advice on how to stay safe.

He said: “Every year, there are an estimated one million cases of food poisoning in the UK.

“The easiest way to protect your family this Christmas is to ensure you store and cook food safely. 

“We have put together the Let’s Talk Turkey guide which offers tips around chilling, cleaning, cooking and avoiding cross-contamination, while also explaining some of the science behind our advice.” 

The safety advice also applies when cooking other birds such as chicken, goose or pheasant.

Christmas food safety information is available at or @foodgov #LetsTalkTurkey on Twitter.

Spotted something we should know about?

Call our Newsdesk on 01709 803562
Or email
Message us on Facebook