Remember to Defrost Your Turkey, Stay Food-safe

UK - The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is urging consumers to start defrosting your turkey today in time for Christmas Day.
calendar icon 22 December 2014
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The FSA is reminding you and other consumers that it is the little things you do that will keep you and your family safe this Christmas.

That is why, this year, FSA has launched National Defrost Your Turkey Day and is saying: 'Defrost your turkey properly'. A typical large turkey (11kg) takes two days to defrost. Unsafe defrosting habits put nearly 11 million of consumer at risk of food poisoning.

FSA's recent survey showed that 62 per cent of us will have turkey on the menu this Christmas, out of which 69 per cent of those who choose frozen turkey are thawing it turkey in unsafe places such as the bath, garage and garden shed – putting their family at risk from food poisoning.

Incorrect thawing provides a way for bacteria like Campylobacter to spread, leaving you with a turkey dinner that looks and tastes delicious, but contains a hidden risk that cannot be seen, tasted or smelled.

FSA is asking you and other consumers to join us for National Defrost Your Turkey Day: sign up to our Thunderclap today to help spread the word about when and how to defrost your turkey.

Top Turkey Safety Tips This Christmas

Kevin Hargin, Head of Foodborne Disease at the Food Standards Agency, said: ‘We all love our turkey dinner at Christmas and this year should be no exception. It’s the little things you do that can make a real difference. So if you make sure that your turkey is defrosted safely and in good time, you can enjoy your meal happily and safely.’

When preparing your turkey from frozen, you should:

  • Follow the retailer’s recommended defrosting time. The size of your turkey will determine how long it needs to be defrosted for (a large 11-kg turkey can take up to two days to defrost).
  • Defrost your turkey in the fridge, if possible, or somewhere cool. Cold temperature slows the growth of germs on food and will keep it safe and fresh.
  • Cover the turkey while defrosting, leave in the packaging or put it in a container to hold any thawing juices, and place it at the bottom of the fridge to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Defrost thoroughly, as otherwise your turkey may not cook evenly and harmful bacteria could survive the cooking process.
  • Raw turkey should always be put in the bottom of fridge until ready to use. Leaving on the kitchen counter at room temperature could increase your risk of food poisoning.

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