Get your turkey ready for ‘National Defrost Your Turkey Day’
To help people stay safe during this festive season, Flintshire County Council
will be supporting the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on National Defrost Your
Turkey Day on Monday 22 December. This day will prompt Christmas cooks to start
thinking of the defrosting process in plenty of time and avoid getting caught
out. A typical large turkey can take two days to defrost.
Only one in four people get it right by defrosting their turkey in the fridge.
The Food Standards Agency is concerned that many risk getting an unwelcome gift
of food poisoning this Christmas. Incorrect thawing provides a platform for
bacteria such as campylobacter to spread, leaving you with a turkey dinner that
looks and tastes delicious but contains a hidden risk that can’t be seen,
tasted or smelled, but can ruin your new year.
From late December 2013 to the start of January 2014 more than 3,000 cases of
campylobacter were confirmed in England and Wales – an indication that more
care needs to be given to the preparation, storage and consumption of turkey in
the home during the festive period.
Councillor Kevin Jones, Cabinet Member for Waste Strategy, Public Protection
and Leisure said:
If you want your Christmas dinner to be remembered for the right reasons,
follow the FSA’s advice on the recommended safe practices when preparing,
cooking and storing turkey. Find out more about the FSA’s top tips at:
We all love our turkey dinner at Christmas and this year should be no
exception. It’s the little things you do that can make a real difference. So if
you make sure that your turkey is defrosted safely and in good time, you can
enjoy your meal happily and safely, said Nina Purcell, Director of the Food
Standards Agency in Wales.
The FSA advises that when preparing your turkey from frozen you should:
• Follow the retailer’s recommended defrosting time. The size of your turkey
will determine how long it needs to be defrosted for (a large 11kg turkey can
take up to two days to defrost).
• Defrost your turkey in the fridge if possible or somewhere cool. Cold
temperature slows the growth of germs on food and will keep it safe and fresh.
• Cover the turkey whilst defrosting, leave in the packaging or put it in a
container to hold any thawing juices, and place it at the bottom of the fridge
to avoid cross-contamination.
• Defrost thoroughly, as otherwise your turkey may not cook evenly and harmful
bacteria could survive the cooking process.
• Raw turkey should always be put in the bottom of the fridge until ready to
use. Leaving on the kitchen counter at room temperature could increase your
risk of food poisoning.
- Dont wash your turkey or any other raw meat or poultry. Cooking
thoroughly will kill any bacteria present, including campylobacter, while
washing chicken can spread germs by splashing onto cooking utensils, kitchen
tops and anything else within reach including you!
· Cook thoroughly and always check the retailer’s instructions for cooking
times as this will vary according to the size of the turkey. Be aware that
fan-assisted ovens might cook your turkey more quickly. To check your turkey
is ready make sure it’s steaming hot all the way through - cut into the
thickest part of the turkey, none of the meat should be pink and any juices
should run clear.
· Cook any stuffing in a separate roasting dish, rather than inside the bird,
as it will cook more easily and the cooking guidelines for the turkey will be
What is campylobacter?
Campylobacter is the generic name for a number of species of bacteria that can
cause food poisoning in people. They cause more cases of food poisoning in the
UK than salmonella, E. coli and listeria combined.
Campylobacter bacteria are commonly found on poultry meat. Between 50% and 80%
of cases of campylobacter food poisoning in the UK and other EU countries can
be attributed to poultry sources, mostly to raw poultry meat.
Why is it important?
50% to 80% of confirmed cases of campylobacter poisoning in the UK come from
contaminated poultry. Campylobacter poisoning can lead to sickness including
abdominal pain, diarrhoea, disability and even worse. Those most at risk are
children and older people.
For more information see www.food.gov.uk/christmas2014
For advice on handling poultry safely see www.food.gov.uk/chicken