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Christmas food safety checklist

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

Download the checklist

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 (between 0-5 degrees)?

From nativity plays to office parties, there’s lots 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’ve created a downloadable checklist below to remind you of some easy and common food safety practices to help reduce the risks of food poisoning.

Download the Christmas Food Safety Checklist

Download the Christmas Food Safety Checklist

Keep a copy with you when you're getting ready for Christmas


  • Make a food plan for Christmas dinner and the few days after to make the most of leftovers

  • Clear out fridge / freezer to make room for Christmas food shop

  • Check that fridge is cold enough after Christmas food shop is put away (between 0-5°C)

  • Take meat out freezer and defrost in fridge or a cool place – 10-12 hours of defrost time per kg

Christmas Eve 

  • Check safety information on food labels and FSS’s website before preparing dinner

Christmas Day 

  • Wash hands before and throughout dinner preparations

  • Remember not to wash raw poultry and other meat

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

  • Check meat is cooked – use food thermometer to check meat reaches 75 degrees 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. Remember to eat within two days or put in freezer and only reheat once

Boxing Day 

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

Food Standards Scotland Christmas doodles of Snowman, snowflakes and turkey

More on this topic

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What’s your kitchen crime?

There are 20 common ‘kitchen crimes’ which could lead to food poisoning, but we can all do some small things in the kitchen to crack down and make sure the food we cook at home is safe.

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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.

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