Top tips to avoid food poisoning at Christmas

Release date: 19 December 2018

Every year there are an estimated one million cases of food poisoning in the UK and this can ruin special occasions, including celebrations during the festive season.

To ensure that you can enjoy your Christmas without the risk of a nasty bout of food poisoning, please follow these food safety tips from Cotswold District Council:

  1. When Christmas food shopping, take sufficient bags with you so that you can separate out raw and ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination.
  2. Check the guidance on your turkey to ensure you have enough time to defrost it fully – it could take as long as 4 days!
  3. Don’t wash raw turkey; it just splashes germs onto your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops.
  4. To work out the cooking time for your bird, follow the instructions on the packaging. Check that the meat is steaming hot throughout, and there is no pink meat visible when you cut into the thickest part – the juices should run clear.
  5. Whether you cooked your turkey from frozen or fresh, your turkey leftovers can be used to make another meal (such as a turkey curry). This new meal can then be frozen - but make sure you only reheat it once.

The CDC Cabinet Member for food safety, Cllr Sue Coakley, says,

“It’s often a challenge to prepare a Christmas meal for a large party and that is why we are promoting the Food Standards Agency’s advice about hygiene to keep people healthy.  In particular, I must stress the importance of storing, defrosting and cooking turkeys and other meats correctly.  Additionally, it’s a great idea to use the leftovers for other meals, but they must be chilled quickly, eaten within a couple of days and reheated thoroughly in order to avoid food poisoning.  Alternatively, they will keep in the freezer for a few weeks.

Adam Hardgrave, Head of Foodborne Disease Control at the Food Standards Agency, adds,

“The four Cs of food hygiene: Chilling, Cleaning, Cooking and avoiding Cross-contamination are important throughout the year, but especially at Christmas.

For more information visit: or follow @foodgov #SeasonsEatings on Twitter for tips and advice throughout the festive period.


Cotswold District Council
Trinity Road