Food Standards Scotland launches festive safety campaign

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has launched a cheeky safety campaign in an effort to reduce the number of people contracting food poisoning over the festive season.

The campaign features Santa Claus stricken by a bout of food poisoning.

Glasgow shoppers and commuters will be targeted with food safety advice at Glasgow Central Station on Tuesday 15 December and Buchanan Galleries on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 December, where Santas elves will be handing out campaign materials featuring useful food safety tips.

According to FSS data, despite 43,000 food poisoning infections, 5,800 GP visits and 500 hospital admissions across the country every year, figures show 78% of Scots think they are unlikely to fall ill from food they have prepared in their own home.

It is 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 a spike in illness. Christmas is a time for all the family to come together and enjoy themselves and food plays an important part of that, he said. Home cooks are usually preparing larger quantities of food, from party snacks to turkey roast dinners. When youve got a lot to do in the kitchen and are in a hurry, you can take your eye off the ball when it comes to hygiene, and when that happens theres more scope for things to go wrong.

FSS research also showed 77% of people learned to cook from a family member, suggesting good hygiene and food safety habits can be learned and passed down through generations.

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

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 its not completely de-frosted it can mean inconsistent cooking through the bird and wont get rid of bugs like campylobacter, which can cause food poisoning.

Also, make sure its cooked through until the juices run clear, store leftovers in the fridge and eat them within two days unless they have been frozen, and reheat them just once. And keep your fridge temperature at 0-5C.

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