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Here's to a healthy Christmas

North Warks CCG

Avoid Christmas bah-humbugs this year by following these food safety tips that will help stop your turkey from knocking the stuffing out of you this Christmas. 

NHS Warwickshire North Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is working with people to ensure they have a safe and merry Christmas this year by providing the following simple food safety tips: 

  • Avoid cross-contamination by keeping all raw food separate from ready-to-eat-food. 
  • Set the fridge to 5*C and store food there that needs to be chilled until ready to use. 
  • Wash your hands – always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before and after handling food, especially when handling and preparing raw meat and poultry. 
  • Defrost turkey safely - Defrost the turkey on a large dish and cover, preferably in the fridge. 
  • Check turkey defrosting times – it can take up to 48hrs for a large turkey to thaw.  
  • Don’t wash your turkey – this increases the risk of food poisoning by splashing germs around the kitchen. 
  • Cook turkey properly – make sure your turkey is piping hot all the way through before serving. Find out more about turkey cooking times 
  • Wash your vegetables. Most of the bacteria on vegetables will be in the soil attached to the produce.  
  • Keep an eye on your dates  sniffing food is not always a reliable way of telling whether food is still safe to eat!  
  • Preparing a buffet - Cold items for a buffet should remain covered and in the fridge until the last minute.  
  • Cool leftovers as quickly as possible, ideally within 90 minutes, then cover and refrigerate. See these tasty recipe ideas to use up leftovers. 


Christmas should be a time of happiness and a celebration of good health, however there is always one person on the naughty list that does not follow instructions and may come down with food poisoning.  

Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating contaminated food. It’s not usually serious and most people get better within a few days without treatment. Symptoms of food poisoning typically begin within one to two days of eating contaminated food, although they can also start at any point within a few hours. The main symptoms include: feeling sick, vomiting, diarrhoea and aching muscles.  

If you experience food poisoning or become ill with anything else over the Christmas period you should visit your local pharmacy or call NHS 111. 

Rebecca Bartholomew, Executive Nurse, NHS Warwickshire North CCG said: 

“Preventing food poisoning and illness over Christmas is very important to allow you and your family to have a safe and merry Christmas.

Local services that will be available over the Christmas period are:

  • NHS 111
  • Your local pharmacy
  • Urgent Care or Walk-in Centre
  • GP


It is important to keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet over the winter to allow your family to self-care at home as much as they can.   

“There is also lots of information available to you online but remember the best cure is to be around your friends and family this Christmas so keep your hands washed, foods separated and keep your eye on those best-before dates. We wish you a happy and healthy Christmas.” 

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