Gastroenteritis is one of the main causes of IBS, and a further bout can make your existing IBS much worse. Make sure you don’t put yourself and your family at risk this Christmas by following these hygiene precautions when you’re cooking your turkey.
Make friends with your fridge. Keep the temperature below five degrees C – cold enough to stop food poisoning bugs from multiplying – and don’t overfill it. Store your turkey on the bottom fridge shelf in a tray or deep plate, so no drips can fall on other foods.
Wash your hands before and after you handle food. Remember there may be some nasty bugs in the giblets of the turkey. Be careful with raw meat. Don’t wash your turkey before cooking because you risk spreading food poisoning around your kitchen.
Use separate chopping boards for raw foods and ready to eat foods like cooked hams.
Work out how long the turkey needs to thaw. Allow 10 to 12 hours per kg if you are thawing in a fridge, or two hours per kg at room temperature. Don’t put it in the oven until you’re sure there are no ice crystals in the cavity and the meat is soft when you insert a fork.
Add the weight of the stuffing to the cooking time, or better still, cook it separately. Ovens vary, so as well as following cooking instructions, check the bird is cooked by sticking a skewer into the thickest part (often the thigh). The juices should run clear.
Be careful with leftovers. You need to cool them down and get them in the fridge as soon as possible. Pull leftover meat off the carcass as soon as possible (otherwise it will retain its heat). Place left-over meat in a shallow dish and stand the dish in cold water aiming to refrigerate within two hours. Even when refrigerated, it is best to eat leftovers within 48 hours.
Avoid smelly wet cloth syndrome. Using a dirty cloth spreads bacteria. Mop up any spills promptly using soap and hot water and if in doubt, throw the disposable cloth away. Be particularly careful about meat spillages. Have plenty of tea towels ready so you can change them if they’re damp. Wash worktops before and after preparing food (and don’t dry them with the tea towel).