Have a Healthy Christmas - Don't Wash Your Turkey

SCOTLAND, UK - Food Standards Scotland (FSS) recently launched a new food safety campaign to highlight the risks of food poisoning over the festive season from washing raw poultry and not washing hands properly.
calendar icon 16 December 2016
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A FSS survey revealed that 45 per cent of adults in Scotland admit to washing raw poultry. With Christmas just around the corner, FSS is calling on those preparing the festive feast to be extra careful.

Washing poultry can splash harmful bacteria like Campylobacter, one of the most common causes of food poisoning in Scotland, over work surfaces and cooking utensils unseen. This research also shows that 58 per cent of Scots are unaware of what Campylobacter is.

Christmas cooks are being encouraged to ensure work surfaces are kept clean, with top tips including using separate or colour-coded chopping boards for raw meat and vegetables.

Professor Norval Strachan, Chief Scientific Adviser at FSS said: “Good hygiene practices when you’re preparing food are vital to a happy and healthy Christmas. Campylobacter is often found on raw or uncooked meat, particularly poultry. It is the most common cause of foodborne illness in Scotland and it can have some pretty nasty symptoms.

“The research carried out by FSS shows that washing poultry is a common occurrence in households across the country and the levels of people failing to wash their hands before and after preparing food are still high.

“Avoiding cross contamination is one of the best ways to protect yourself from Campylobacter. Washing poultry is actually unnecessary as proper cooking will kill these harmful germs. You’ll also run the risk of contaminating work surfaces and other utensils so it’s not worth risking it.”

Jacqui McElhiney, Head of Food Protection, Science & Surveillance at FSS said: “We know everyone is busy in the kitchen at this time of year but it’s important to take the time to follow good hygiene practice when you are preparing and cooking your Christmas meal. No one wants to be ill at Christmas.

“We don’t want to detract from the fun and celebrations of the season and we want our festive campaign to reduce complacency about the risks of food poisoning. Only small behavioural changes are required and our message is simple – wash your hands and not your poultry.”

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