At least one in four people in Ireland has experienced a Christmas cooking disaster, such as undercooking their turkey, or forgetting to defrost it in the first place, Safefood has said.
Almost one million turkeys are cooked in Ireland on Christmas Day, so Safefood has launched a Christmas food safety campaign, which aims to ensure that everyone has a safe and tasty turkey over the holiday season.
"Christmas dinner is one of the most special meals of the year, with turkey often taking centre stage. But it can be an overwhelming experience for some, especially if you haven't cooked it before or aren't used to cooking for big groups," commented Dr Linda Gordon of Safefood.
A survey of 1,001 adults carried out last month on behalf of Safefood found that 27% of people have had Christmas cooking disasters, with 15% either undercooking or overcooking their turkey. Some 7% forgot to turn on their oven, while 4% forgot to defrost their turkey.
Dr Gordon insisted that planning ahead is the best way to stay on top of things.
"Last year, over 80,000 people visited the Safefood website between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, with the most popular searches including: how to defrost a turkey; where to store it; cooking times; whether to stuff it or not; and how to know when it's properly cooked," she noted.
She said that this campaign aims to take the stress out of cooking at Christmas time.
"Whatever cooking method, timings or recipes you use, you know your turkey is properly cooked when there's no pink meat in the thickest part of the breast and thigh, the juices run clear and the meat is piping hot throughout.
"Our website is stuffed with lots of useful resources including a turkey cooking-time-calculator, how-to videos and lots of tasty Christmas recipes. And for any last-minute questions on Christmas Day itself, our Safefood Chefbot will also be available to answer questions through Facebook messenger @safefood.eu," Dr Gordon explained.
The Safefood website offers lots of advice, including how to store, defrost, prepare, stuff and cook your turkey. For more information, click here
*Pictured at the launch of the Safefood Christmas food safety campaign is chef and author, Adrian Martin, along with helper elves, Michael Mann (4) from Coolock and Alice McLaughlin (5) from Drumcondra