How to not get food poisoning during Christmas

It’s that time of the year where every feast looks tempting. Christmas is a time of endless buffets, and while we don’t mind filling up to the brim, we really don’t want to get sick either.  

With 1 out of 5 people at the risk of suffering from bouts of unpleasant symptoms, food poisoning can be a real deal. Here’s what you can do to avoid food poisoning during Christmas. 

What is food poisoning? 

Foodborne disease, or more commonly food poisoning, is a gastroenteritis condition caused due to food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, or toxins. Once caught, it might cause diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, loss of appetite, and if not, even headaches! Symptoms usually begin as early as 30 minutes and may last up to 7 to 8 weeks, depending on its severity. However, over the festive season, food poisoning is always waiting to happen. For instance, an untouched chocolate fondue is enough to make you a run to the bathroom almost immediately. 

And as the summer is heating up even more, we urge taking some simple measures to ensure your food is safe to consume. So, when you forget to take your food inside after a barbeque, you allow the bacteria to multiply over time. And by the time we’re done eating it again, you’re already at risk of suffering from Salmonella food poisoning! 

Here are a few tips and tricks to avoid getting sick this festive season.

1. Avoid food poisoning by separating raw food from cooked food 

One of the most common reasons for food poisoning is failing to separate raw food from cooked food, especially when it’s meat, such as poultry. 

Salmonella outbreaks are often caused when consuming raw or uncooked food, such as adding undercooked eggs in a brilliant salad. 

Considering that a salad usually goes into the fridge after a meal, you might forget it this time because, hey! it’s a festive time, and we’re all swamped. 

2. Thaw food into the fridge 

Storage of food at the right temperature is as important as preparing it. 

Ensure you keep hot food items warm on top of the stove, covered, or in the oven. And when it comes to something like cakes, or puddings, keep it inside the fridge. 

3. Food handling should be at its best 

Maintaining proper food hygiene is incredibly important. Make sure you wash your hands before handling food. Wash knives, chopping boards, and utensils after use, and use separate chopping boards for raw meats and vegetables to avoid cross-contamination.

4. Don’t try cooking if you’re not well 

We recommend not preparing food for others if you’ve symptoms of gastroenteritis until 48 hours after symptoms have passed. 

5. Follow cooking instructions 

When preparing food from packages, follow the instructions. You might have to set the appliance at a different temperature or probably give an extra wash to your poultry, or avoid mixing a marinade directly onto your cooked food.  

6. Do not forget to cover your meals once cooked

It will not just retain the heat, but also prevent contamination from air. 

7. Take extra care with leftovers 

Make sure that the left-overs are stored in sealed containers right away in the fridge or freezer to retain their freshness. Remember, we are trying to avoid contamination at all costs! Consume the left-over not more than two days.

And finally, an overstocked fridge can stop hot foods from cooling properly. So use this as a guide and be mindful of how you serve and store your food to ensure no one in the family ruins their festive season with bouts of unpleasant food poisoning.