Christmas food safety tips

Christmas is a time of the year that is all about food and drink. Our holiday celebrations centre on Christmas dinner, as well as a Boxing Day buffet and a range of other festive meals. 

Due to the amount of food we buy, store, cook and prepare at Christmas, food safety is more important than ever. This is why the Food Standard Agency (FSA) has launched an advent calendar of food safety tips, one for each day in December leading up to Christmas. Many food hygiene training course providers have come up with their own guidance for festive food safety, as well as urging food-providing businesses to undergo food safety training. 

Edinburgh Council, meanwhile, has published a list of twelve of the most useful and easy-to follow tips, so that you and your family stay health and well this Christmas. 

  1. Always wash hands thoroughly, using hot water and soap, before cooking and after handling raw meat 
  2. Keep the kitchen as clean as possible, especially when it comes to chopping boards, knives and worktops 
  3. Don’t let pets anywhere near the kitchen 
  4. Follow defrosting guidelines carefully, and don’t cut corners 
  5. Keep raw meat separate from vegetables, cooked meat and all drinks – never let it drip onto other food products in the fridge 
  6. Make sure your fridge temperature is set at 5°C or below 
  7. Check ‘Use By’ dates on food products before serving 
  8. Once you’ve bought frozen or chilled food, get home quickly and put it in the fridge or freezer before it gets warm or starts to thaw 
  9. Always cook food thoroughly – if you aren’t sure whether it’s cooked, add a few minutes onto the cooking time. Never take the risk 
  10. Keep cold food at a cold temperature and hot food at a hot temperature 
  11. Avoid eating food that contains raw eggs – there is a risk of salmonella 
  12. If you are reheating leftovers, ensure they are piping hot. Also, you should avoid re-heating leftovers more than once.