County Durham’s consumers are being urged to make sure their Christmas nosh-up is one they’ll remember for all the right reasons.

Durham County Council is cooperating with the Food Standards Agency to help bring their national Season’s Eatings campaign to the county’s residents.

The campaign advises consumers on how to prepare their Christmas dinner and other festive meals in a safe and hygienic way.

Festive food poisoning is regrettable quite common and it can have serious consequences for children, elderly people and those already suffering from health problems.

The Season’s Eatings campaign offers guidance on buying and storing food, preparing meals and keeping cooking spaces hygienic.

Some of the most important tips on how to stay well and healthy this Christmas are as follows:

  • When doing your Christmas food shopping, make sure you take enough bags so that you can separate raw and ready-to-eat foods and avoid cross-contamination.
  • Check the cooking instructions on your turkey – or other bird – so that you will have enough time to defrost it. Defrosting can take as long as four days.
  • Don’t wash raw meat – it just splashes germs on your hands, clothing, surfaces and utensils.
  • To ensure your bird gets thoroughly cooked, first read the cooking instructions carefully. When you remove the bird from the oven, make sure the meat is steaming throughout and that you can see no pink meat when you cut into the thickest part of the bird. Make sure the juices run clear.
  • You can use previously cooked and frozen turkey to make a new meal, such as a curry. This new meal can be frozen, but it should be reheated only once.

Durham County Council’s head of environmental health and consumer protection, Joanne Waller, said, “The key to a happy and healthy festive season is to be vigilant when preparing Christmas food, particularly with turkey and other raw meats.”

“Following the Season’s Eatings top tips, including everything from shopping and storage to defrosting and cooking, will ensure that everyone can stay well enough to fully enjoy not only their Christmas but the rest of the holidays too.”

To learn more about the Season’s Eatings campaign – and for more advice about Christmas food safety – please go to

(Featured image courtesy of Amanda Slater, from Flickr Creative Commons.)


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