Skip to main contentAccessibility Statement
This article is more than 1 year old

Your checklist to food safety this Christmas

Food businesses

20 December 2022

Table laid for Christmas dinner.

Christmas is around the corner and top of the list on most of our minds is the annual Christmas dinner.

No one wants to be spending this festive season unwell because of poorly prepped or stored food.

Add these steps to your Christmas checklist to make sure your food is properly stored, prepared and cooked.

Step one – who’s coming?

  • Confirm the number of people you’re cooking for – check for any allergies or dietary needs
  • Plan out your food to make the most of what you’re cooking and avoid waste

Step two – storing and buying food

  • Store food in the right places, checking labels for storage instructions – make the most of fridge and freezers and store raw meat at the bottom of your fridge
  • Check your fridge’s temperature, because the temperature of your fridge can rise when it's full, increasing the chance of food poising. Your fridge should be between 0-5°C. Be sure to check the temperature regularly
  • Check for use by dates and stick to these, as tempting as it might be to go over a day or so

Step three – preparing food

  • Check food labels for safety information before preparing
  • Take meat out of the freezer and defrost it on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Avoid juices dripping on to ready-to-eat food as this could spread harmful germs. Allow 10-12 hours of defrost time per kg
  • It could take around 3 days to safely defrost a 6kg turkey in a 4°C fridge so allow plenty of time

Step four – time to cook

  • Wash your hands before and throughout dinner preparations, especially after handling raw meat
  • Use different chopping boards and utensils for raw and ready to eat/cooked food. Wash any equipment thoroughly in hot, soapy water between uses
  • Make sure any meat is cooked through – there should be no visible pink meat, juices are running clear and use a food thermometer to check meat reaches 75°C in the thickest part
  • Put leftovers in a sealed container inside the fridge within two hours of cooking, to be used within two days
  • Split food into smaller portions to help speed up the cooling time

Step five – enjoying leftovers

  • Keep chilled foods out of fridge for no longer than four hours
  • Eat food within two days of cooking or defrosting.
  • When reheating, only reheat once and ensure the food is steaming hot
Want the latest Council news delivered straight to your inbox?