Christmas food safety checklist

Use our food safety checklist to reduce the risk of food poisoning at Christmas

Christmas can be a magical time of year, but not if you end up with food poisoning! There’s always a lot going on at this time of year and it’s easy to forget the importance of storing and preparing food safely. But none of us want to give – or get - the unwanted gift of food poisoning.

We tend to buy more than usual at Christmas, which often means cramming our fridge full of festive food. But did you know that when your fridge is full, its temperature can rise and food poisoning bacteria can grow if the fridge isn’t cold enough? Your fridge should be between 0-5 degrees Celsius (a good stocking filler idea could be a fridge thermometer to keep you right).

We’ve created a checklist  to remind you of some easy and common food safety practices to help reduce the risks of food poisoning.


☐ Make a food plan for Christmas dinner and the few days after to make the most of leftovers. Check dates when shopping to plan meals and freeze food ahead of time. Follow all ‘Use By’ dates, especially in the days after Christmas even if it smells fine.

 Use food in the fridge/freezer to make room for the Christmas food shop.

 Check that your fridge is cold enough after the Christmas food shop has been put away (between 0-5°C).

 Take meat out freezer and defrost on the bottom shelf of the fridge or a cool place – 10-12 hours of defrost time per kg.

Christmas Eve 

 Check safety information on food labels and our website before preparing dinner.

Christmas Day 

☐ Wash hands before and throughout dinner preparations, especially after handling raw meat.

 Remember not to wash raw poultry and other meat, as this can splash harmful bacteria around the kitchen.

 Use different utensils, plates and chopping boards for raw and ready to eat/cooked food, or wash thoroughly between tasks.

 Check meat is cooked – there should be no visible pink meat, juices are running clear and use a food thermometer to check meat reaches 75 degrees Celsius in the thickest part.

 Cook stuffing in a separate roasting tin. Stuffing inside the turkey will add more cooking time.

 Put leftovers in fridge within two hours, to be used within two days.

Boxing Day 

 If having a buffet, keep chilled foods out of fridge for the shortest time possible (no longer than four hours).

 Remember to eat your leftovers within two days of cooking or put them in the freezer. When reheating, only reheat once and ensure the food is steaming hot.

Try our Festive Food Safety Filter

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Turkey Cooking Guide

Looking for advice on cooking a turkey? The following guide will help you prepare the perfect roast for your family and friends to enjoy – without food poisoning ruining festivities.