News & Updates

Food Standards Scotland launches festive food safety campaign

Christmas cooks are being urged to follow simple safety tips when preparing food in the home over the festive season, as part of a new campaign to reduce the number of people contracting food poisoning across Scotland this December.

Food Standards Scotland today (Monday, 14 December) launched its first festive food safety campaign, encouraging people to make sure food poisoning is the last thing on their list.

Despite 43,000 food poisoning infections, 5,800 GP visits and 500 hospital admissions across the country every year, figures show three quarters of Scots (78 per cent) think they’re unlikely to fall ill from food they’ve prepared in their own home.

The campaign uses tongue-in-cheek humour to get food safety messages across, and features Santa Claus stricken by a bout of food poisoning. 

Shoppers and commuters across Scotland will also be targeted with food safety advice over the next two weeks with elves handing out campaign materials featuring useful tips.

It’s hoped the advice will lead to more people following the Four Cs of food safety: cleaning, cooking, chilling and avoiding cross-contamination, with specific advice on the storage, preparation and cooking of turkeys and leftovers.

Geoff Ogle, Chief Executive of Food Standards Scotland warned poor preparation and cooking larger meals than normal is what can lead to illness.

He said: “Christmas is a time for all the family to come together and enjoy themselves, and food plays an important part of that.

“Home cooks are usually preparing larger quantities of food - from party snacks to turkey roast dinners. When you’ve got a lot to do in the kitchen and in a hurry you can take your eye off the ball when it comes to hygiene, and when that happens there’s more scope for things to go wrong.”

Research shows two-thirds of people learn to cook from a family member (77%), suggesting good hygiene and food safety habits can be learned and passed down through generations.

Geoff Ogle said there are number of simple things that people could do to help reduce food poisoning infections.

He added: “These should include allowing adequate time to defrost your turkey in the bottom of your fridge or somewhere cold: large turkeys can take a couple of days. If it’s not completely de-frosted it can mean inconsistent cooking through the bird and won’t get rid of bugs like campylobacter which can cause food poisoning.

“Also make sure it’s cooked through until the juices run clear, store leftovers in the fridge and eat them within two days unless they’ve been frozen, and re-heat them just once. And keep your fridge temperature at 0-5°C.

“We wish everyone in Scotland a very safe and happy Christmas and New Year.”

Julie Watt | Consolidated PR | 0131 240 6420 | 07920025436 |


Notes to editors

Food Standards Scotland six simple food safety tips this Christmas:

Defrost turkey in the bottom of your fridge or in a cool place

There’s no need to wash your turkey – this can splash germs

Cook turkey all the way through until juices run clear

Filling your fridge can raise the temperature – keep it at 0-5°C

Freeze or eat leftovers within two days, and only reheat once

Wash your hands after touching raw meat


Over two thirds of Scots (78 per cent) believe they’re unlikely to fall unwell from food they’ve prepared in their own home. (Food and You, Food Standards Agency, 2014).

The majority of people learn to cook from a family member (77%). (Food and You, Food Standards Agency in Scotland, 2014).

Food Standards Scotland

  • Food Standards Scotland (FSS) was established on 1 April 2015 by the Food (Scotland) Act 2015 as a non-ministerial office, part of the Scottish Administration, alongside, but separate from, the Scottish Government.
  • FSS is mainly funded by government, with a budget of £15.7m agreed within the Food (Scotland) Act 2015, but also charges fees to recover costs for regulatory functions.
  • The organisation is based in Aberdeen, and has approximately 150 office and field-based staff.
  • The primary concern of FSS is consumer protection – making sure that food is safe to eat, ensuring consumers know what they are eating and improving nutrition. FSS’s stated vision is to deliver a food and drink environment in Scotland that benefits, protects and is trusted by consumers.
  • The objectives of FSS as set out in the Food (Scotland) 2015 Act are to:
    • Protect public from risks to health which may arise in connection with the consumption of food
    • Improve the extent to which members of the public have diets which are conducive to good health
    • Protect the other interests of consumers in relation to food
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