Food Standards Scotland (FSS) is reminding people not to give the unwanted gift of food poisoning by following good food safety practices over the festive period.
The results from the latest FSS Food in Scotland Consumer Tracking Survey reveal that almost three-quarters of Scots (72%) completely fill their fridge at least some of the time, but only 12% always remember to check the temperature when it’s full.
Dr Jacqui McElhiney, Head of Food Protection Science and Surveillance at Food Standards Scotland, said: “Christmas is a time when we tend to buy much more food than usual so it’s important to plan how to store and prepare it safely. One of the most common mistakes is to cram our Christmas food into the fridge, without realising that this can raise the temperature. It’s really important to check that the fridge is cold enough and it’s between zero and five degrees centigrade to slow down the growth of food poisoning bacteria.
“We’ve created a downloadable festive food safety checklist to act as a reminder of the easy steps we can all take to help reduce the risks of food poisoning when planning and cooking food at Christmas, which you can find at Food Standards Scotland’s website.”
The survey also revealed some more bad kitchen habits which could put people at risk of food poisoning:
- Not defrosting meat and poultry in the fridge or a cold place – doing this helps reduce the growth of food poisoning bacteria
- Washing poultry and raw meat – this should be avoided so as not to splash bacteria around the kitchen
- Forgetting to wash hands – this can transfer food poisoning bacteria from one food to another
FSS has created a downloadable food safety checklist which serves as a timely reminder when carrying out the different stages of preparing, cooking and eating Christmas dinner, as well as storing any leftovers.