No Christmas feast is complete without a Christmas turkey or roast on the dinner table during Christmas day. As much as a delight it is to share a Christmas feast with loved ones, unfortunately handling, or even mishandling of poultry, in this case chicken and turkey can often lead to foodborne disease outbreaks which might put a damper on your holiday plans. To ensure no Christmas vacation or plans gets are unexpected cut short due unexpected trips to the loo, here are a few food safety tips for handling your holiday turkey or roast, as recommended by the Centre of Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia United States.

1) Thaw poultry safely and appropriately

Never thaw your poultry meats by leaving it out on the kitchen counter. Thawing poultry needs to be done at a safe temperature. When poultry meats are left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, its temperature becomes unsafe as bacteria starts to grow. This is especially true when poultry meats are left out in the “danger zone” between 40°F and 140°F.

Tip: Only thaw poultry meats in the refrigerator in a container, in a leak-proof plastic bag in a sink of cold water or in the microwave 

2) Cook stuffing thoroughly

If you are cooking stuffing in the turkey or roast, ensure to put the stuffing in the turkey or roast before cooking to ensure that stuffing is thoroughly cooked with the meat.

Tip: Use a food theromometer to make sure the stuffing’s centre reaches 165°F before serving. Leave 20 minutes after taking the bird out of the oven before removing the stuffing, this will allow it more time to cook a little more. 

3) Cook turkey thoroughly

Ensure your bird is properly cooked by making sure it has reached a safe internal temperature of 165°F by using a food thermometer.  Do this by insert food thermometer into the centre of the stuffing and thickest portions of the breast, thigh, and wing joint. Let rest for 20 minutes before removing all stuffing from the cavity and carving the meat.

Undercooked poultry meats are not the only thing that might put a damper on any Christmas holiday plans, ingestion of microbial contimaninated food and water can also result in a streak of unexpected trips to the loo! According to the CDC, Traveller’s Diarhoea remains to be the most frequent health problems in travellers travelling overseas and affects up to 70% of oversea travellers each year.