• Top Tips for a Healthy Christmas

    Traditional Roast Turkey with TrimmingsWe all know how stressful cooking the Christmas lunch is, and you definitely don’t want to add the worry of a houseful of poorly tummies to the mix.

    So rather than leave it to chance, stop worrying about whether your food is cooked enough and at the same time have a lovely tasty Christmas turkey that is cooked to temperature not to colour

    With a simple probe thermometer you can take the reading in the thickest part of the meat. Easy. And cheap – a great little thermometer costs only £19.00 from Hygiene Audit Systems.

    pdq400

    And then after handling the raw turkey, do wash your hands and use an antibacterial cleanser for disinfecting and cleaning the surfaces which may have been contaminated with dangerous bacteria.

    Ten Top Tips for Turkey Day!

    • Make sure your fridge is cold enough – use a cheap fridge thermometer – available from supermarkets for around £5. Turn down the temperature you are aiming for 5 °C
    • Storing the raw turkey – use a tray to catch the drip, put at the bottom of the fridge away from anything that is ready-to-eat
    • After handling raw meat or poultry, wash your hands thoroughly using soap and warm water, dry with a paper towel rather than a tea towel.
    • Clean and disinfect anything that may have contamination from raw turkey – use the dishwasher on a high temperature, use an anti-bacterial cleanser and paper towel for surfaces, and don’t use the kitchen cloth or it will simply spread the bacteria all round the kitchen
    • Cook to 75 °C in the thickest part of the meat – use a clean probe thermometer
    • Turkey left overs? With clean hands, strip off the carcass and put on a clean plate, cover and put in the fridge above any raw meat or veg
    • Eat left overs within 3 days of cooking
    • Re-heat left overs quickly and to above 75 °C
    • No room in the fridge? Ditch some of the less important items such as chutneys, jams, sauces etc. and put them in a cold part of the house or in a box in the garage for a few days to make room for cooked meats and foods that could become dangerous if left out of refrigeration.
    • Lots of people using your wc? Keep the soap stocked up and make sure you change the hand towel daily at least to keep the shared bugs down. Use an antibacterial wipe on the flush handle and door handle if you want to be particularly hygienic!
  • Is a bit of dirt good for you?

    Fresh Produce - Wash raw foods before eating“A peck of dirt before you die” – I will give it a miss, thanks

     

    Dr Lisa Ackerley looks at the reasons why you should wash raw vegetables thoroughly.

     

    The Health Protection Agency revealed that unwashed leeks and potatoes may have been the cause of 250 scattered cases of E.coli O157 during 2010- 2011 which hospitalised 74 people and killed one already sick person.

    So how do you make sure you don’t fall ill from E. coli? Should you stop buying leeks and potatoes? Of course not! Just follow some simple rules:

    • Cooking kills E. coli, so all leeks and potatoes will be safe when cooked.
    • Use anti-bacterial products to remove dirt and kill E. coli on potentially contaminated surfaces such as chopping boards and sinks.
    • Make sure you wash your hands properly after handling raw vegetables – not a quick swill under the tap, but with soap, warm water and dry them properly afterwards preferably on a paper towel or hand towel – not a tea towel! This is a video from the Food Standards Agency on hand-washing which is for caterers, but there are some useful tips for the home.

    It raises the issue again of how to clean produce which is to be eaten raw – produce wash for domestic and commercial use is available from the Hygiene Audit Systems shop.

    So would I want to eat a peck of dirt? Not if it has E. coli on it – and how can you tell? It seems as though nearly every month another source of this potentially deadly organism is uncovered. So to keep things simple, assume that raw vegetables, meat and poultry may be contaminated, clean up carefully after preparation, and wash your hands!