Anjali Dattani

Anjali Dattani

January need not be so blue, as the first month of the New Year provides great opportunities to capitalise on the trends of the season. 

A recent survey by MONIN, the flavour experts, revealed that more than 20 million Brits are considering going vegan for the month of January, while two thirds of the population are considering giving up alcohol in the same month. To help bar managers ensure they get their offering right MONIN has identified what January’s consumer wants from their no ABV or vegan cocktails.

The most important factor for consumers selecting these drinks is great taste with 41% citing it as a top consideration, coming in second is the need for the drink to be refreshing (38%), while a fruity taste, fresh fruit inclusions and quality ingredients make up the top five key purchasing decisions.

When it comes to choosing the drink based on flavour it was no surprise that strawberry and raspberry are front runners with 41% and 38% opting for these respectively. But while traditional ingredients remain popular, consumers are becoming more adventurous in their palate preferences and it’s vital to keep up with this ever-growing hunger for the ‘next big thing’.

Drinks inspired by orange is a strong third at 34%, with those over 55 most likely to choose this option, while 18-24 year olds and millennials are most willing to experiment. Perhaps the search for alternative flavours is in-part responsible for the resurgence of floral notes such as rose and lavender with 20% and 14% of consumers respectively looking for drinks with these flavours. Rhubarb (19%), coffee (17%), jasmine (15%), cucumber (14%) and chocolate (13%), complete the top 10.

When it comes to cost, on average consumers are willing to pay approximately £5 for a no ABV cocktail. Perhaps unsurprisingly this figure rose in the capital where £5.57 is deemed appropriate, with nearly half (47%) willing to pay above this. However, it’s the Northern Irish who are willing to splash out the most with an average price point of almost £6 being considered acceptable.

Lee Hyde, MONIN’s UK Beverage Innovation Manager said: “Traditionally it is accepted that footfall is low during January. However, our survey shows there is real opportunity for sales in this period, by increasing the drinks range in line with the needs of the customer, venues can be rewarded with additional sales and an increase in customer loyalty.

“Our research also demonstrates that there can’t be a one size fits all approach to a drinks menu with customers of varying ages looking for a different drinking experience. MONIN’s extensive range of syrups offer fantastic versatility with on-trend options including Orange Spritz, Rose, Beetroot and Cucumber, as well as traditional favourites Strawberry and Raspberry.

“Clearly advertising the offering will remind consumers that giving up alcohol or animal products needn’t prevent them from enjoying themselves! Rather than shying away from Dry January and Veganuary establishments can enjoy making the most of these opportunities.” 

Recipe inspiration:

 

Orange Spritz

30ml Sirop de MONIN Orange Spritz

150ml Non alcoholic sparkling wine

 

Add all ingredients to a large wine glass with ice, stir thoroughly and garnish with orange slices.

 

Yuzu and Rose Iced Tea

15ml Le Fruit de MONIN Yuzu

10ml Sirop de MONIN Rose

40ml Seedlip Spice

60ml Green tea

 

Brew the tea and allow to cool. Add all ingredients to a stirring jug with ice, stir thoroughly and garnish with edible flowers.

 

Turn Up The Beet

20 ml Le Fruit de MONIN Beetroot

5 ml MONIN Blackberry syrup

30 ml Seedlip Spice

15 ml lime juice

Top with ginger beer

 

Combine ingredients except ginger beer in a shaker filled with ice cubes. Shake vigorously. Pour into a glass and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a blackberry and a sprig of mint and serve.

For more information on MONIN products please visit www.MONIN.com or www.b-opie.com. Follow MONIN_UK on Instagram Facebook or Twitter

 

The Craft Guild of Chefs is delighted to announce the details of the 8th Universal Cookery and Food Festival (UCFF). The popular annual event will take place on Tuesday 25th June 2019 at Farrington Oils in Northamptonshire.

Following the huge success of this year’s festival, the 2019 8th UCFF will be themed “From the Land” and will focus on sustainability, alongside complimentary issues such as Brexit, crowd funding, local heroes and ‘Mums in the kitchen’. The new dateline of June reflects pre-harvest, in line with the chosen venue.

Established in 2012, UCFF was the brainchild of Lee Maycock, Ian Nottage and John Feeney during their time as Craft Guild of Chefs committee members. Designed by chefs, for chefs, each year the festival moves around the UK, taking the event directly to chefs in different locations. It is an excellent opportunity for foodservice professionals to gather and listen to thoughts and experiences from influential people.

Ian Nottage, UCFF director says: “We are very excited to be heading to Northampton with UCFF 2019. We always try to tackle industry topics and historically, explored subjects such as obesity, mental health issues, disability and equality in professional kitchens. Next year, sustainability will be high on the agenda, with industry experts taking to the stage to share their experience and knowledge. Particularly in light of the current issues around the use of single use plastics in the hospitality industry.” Nottage continues, “Indeed the choice of Bottom Farm (home of Farrington oils) demonstrates the UCFF’s commitment to sustainability as this is at the very heart of how they produce their rapeseed oil. Duncan Farrington is a passionate farmer who understands the importance of working with nature for a sustainable future, whether it be a ‘no plough’ ethos on the farm to improve soil fertility and reduce CO2 emissions, to the use of solar panels, or adopting bee friendly methods of growing crops.”

The event will include an eclectic mix of demonstrations, workshops, foraging, farm tours and live debates. The farm tour will include a demonstration of rapeseed oil combined with a factory visit. New to 2019, is a game stage, featuring deer and rabbit skinning, as well as falconry and the opportunity for clay pigeon shooting. Farrington Oils is home to Mellow Yellow, the UK’s first ’seed-to-bottle’ producer of cold pressed rapeseed oil. A family run business, it produces a range of fine ingredients for chefs and home cooks, using their sustainably grown rapeseed oil, pressed on the family farm in Northamptonshire.

Duncan Farrington, managing director at Farrington Oils adds: “Hosting the 2019 UCFF is a fantastic honour for Farrington Oils. We can’t wait to welcome industry leading chefs and producers to Bottom Farm for a superb culinary experience. Duncan continues: “We’ll be offering visitors a unique insight into how we produce our award-winning Mellow Yellow Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil during what is sure to be a brilliant day!” 

The Guild’s Universal Cookery and Food Festival 2018 took place at Westlands Nurseries in Evesham, with more than 350 attendees and almost 60 exhibitors in one day. This included Craft Guild of Chefs members, partners, trade suppliers and local businesses. With sustainability high on the agenda, it received outstanding support from its members and local services to tackle food waste. Spearheaded by Roger Kellow, government account manager at Hobart, along with UCFF, an arrangement was made for surplus food from the event to be donated to local charity Caring Hands, based at the Evesham Christian Centre in Bewdley. The donation received was used in their drop-in diner, food bank and community pantry. Caring Hands said, “Huge thanks to Roger Kellow and all at #UCFF for your generosity and support.”

In addition to developing sustainability, the event’s total recycling rate was an impressive 54%, consisting of 27% card, 20% glass, 7% mixed plastics and cans. UCFF has ambitions to increase this percentage at the 2019 festival and upcoming plans to include food waste from exhibitors is also in the pipeline.
Nottage adds, “As well as being a fun day out for chefs and foodies alike the UCFF always has education at its heart. We believe that by chefs meeting and talking to farmers, growers, foragers, fishermen and industry experts in so many fields they can learn so much, particularly about sustainability. Hopefully they can then take some of those learnings back to their own kitchens to help them become even more sustainable in their day to day working lives.”

As free movement of labour takes centre stage in Brexit negotiations, the latest figures from Fourth, the leading global software partner to the hospitality and leisure industries, has revealed that, despite the ongoing narrative around the end of free movement, there has been an increase in EU workers entering the industry during November.

The news comes after several months of declining numbers, with new EU entrants to the industry falling from 41.5% in July, to 38.5% in September. However, the latest statistics for November reveal this has now reverted, with 44% of new starters from the EU. 

The driving force behind this growth has been an influx of seasonal workers to the pub industry. Over the last four months the makeup of the pub workforce has remained relatively flat with 78% of workers from the UK, 17% from the EU, and 5% from the Rest of the World (ROW).

However, November saw a marked increase in the proportion of EU workers in the pub industry, with figures altering to 68% from the UK, 26% from the EU and 6% from the ROW. Interestingly, these figures directly correlate to a surge of EU workers experienced this June, which suggests that seasonal workers from the EU support the pub trade when it enters a busy period, such as Christmas or a large sporting event.

During August and September there was a surge in new starters from the UK, with figures rising to 54.5% in September (up from 52% in July). November figures show this trend has also reverted with 47% of new starters coming from the UK; and 8.5% from the rest of the world (ROW).

The number of UK workers leaving the industry fell to 48% in November, after rising to 55.5% in September. Meanwhile, the number of EU workers leaving the industry increased to 42% in November, after falling to 37.5% in September; while leavers from the ROW increased slightly to 8.5% in November, up from 7% in September.

The increase in new starters from the EU is welcome news for the hospitality industry which is heavily reliant on foreign workers.  Looking at the make-up of the workforce, the statistics reveal that, as of November 2018, 42% of workers in the restaurant, QSR (quick service restaurants/fast-food), hotel and pub sectors are from the EU. British workers make up 48% (down from 50% in July) and the remaining 10% come from the ROW. 

However, the numbers spike significantly for QSR, with almost two thirds (65%) of workers coming from outside the UK – 54.5% from EU and 10.5% from rest of the world. While the reliance on foreign workers remain high, these figures show there has been a significant influx of UK workers to the sector, rising by 8% since September.

On the other hand, the restaurant industries reliance on foreign workers is increasing further, particularly in skilled back of house roles. In July, we reported that 30% of restaurant workers in BOH roles were from the UK, but this number has now decreased to just 26%; with EU workers climbing from 58% in July, to 62% in November. Considering, ROW workers account for 12% of the workforce, 74% of workers are from outside of the UK.

From a regional perspective, the hospitality industry’s reliance on EU workers is significantly exacerbated in London with 52% of the workforce from the EU. Interestingly, the figures show that Northern Ireland and East of England are also very reliant on EU workers representing 46% and 45% of the workforce, respectively.

Mike Shipley, Analytics & Insight Solutions Director at Fourth, said: “Against an uncertain political backdrop as to the future of the free movement of labour from the European Union, it is welcome news to see there has been an influx of EU workers entering the industry, after several months of falling numbers. 

“Interestingly, driving this influx, is the pub industry which has experienced a surge in workers from the EU as we approach the busy Christmas period. This trend reflection fluctuations experienced in June, suggesting that EU workers enter the industry and pick up extra shifts, during busy periods.

“This further reveals our industry’s reliance on foreign workers, particularly in the restaurant and quick service restaurant sectors, as well as back of house roles. Amongst the many challenges our industry currently faces, people are often listed as the biggest concern and ensuring a pragmatic immigration system after Brexit, along with a conscious, combined and concerted effort to attract young UK talent into the industry, is imperative.

“In this uncertain environment, at the very least, operators need to have a clear understanding of the make-up of their workforce. In addition, with the high churn of workers in the industry, making your business an attractive prospect for employee and ensuring you have maximised efficiencies across your management of people and product is key.

“Our sole aim is helping our clients negotiate these challenges, whether it’s introducing an innovative ‘Pay-as-You-Go’ payment solution to attract employees, such as our partnership with Wagestream, or nailing down demand forecasting and working with partner technology providers to give a complete snapshot of business performance in one easy-to-view dashboard with single sign on capabilities.”

The statistics were mined from Fourth Analytics and based on a sample comprising over 30,000 hospitality industry employees, with an even split across the restaurant, QSR, hotel and pub sectors

 

This Christmas, Hobart Government Account Manager Roger Kellow, calls time on a career that has spanned three decades; a period of unprecedented growth and success for the company’s public sector business.

The industry stalwart, universally respected for his engaging personality and passion for hospitality as a whole, will be a tough act to follow. Individuals from across the industry took to social media to congratulate Roger on his career, commend his unwavering commitment to the public sector and celebrate his retirement.

Branded “a true gentleman of the profession” and “an absolute legend”, some thanked him for the help and guidance he’d provided them with, whilst others maintained he will “go down in history” – a timely reminder of just how much Roger has achieved throughout his career.

Neel Radia, National Chair of the NACC who earlier this year presented Roger with Honourary Membership to the association praised his outstanding contribution to the care sector, whilst the HCA added that it was his “heart of gold” that truly set him apart.

Tim Bender, Sales Director at Hobart UK and colleague of Roger’s for over 25 years encapsulated the tributes: “Roger is the definition of the word gentleman. Always smiling, always with time to help others and always trying to make a difference in the industry he loves. It’s with a heavy heart that we lose him from our day to day operations, but his impact will be felt for years to come.

Fortunately, this is not goodbye forever as Roger has agreed to return in a consultancy role, but in the meantime everyone here at Hobart wishes him all the best in his semi-retirement which is so truly deserved.”

Anaphylaxis (pronounced ana-fill-ax-is) is a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction. The Anaphylaxis Campaign is the only UK charity operating solely for the growing numbers of people at risk from severe allergic reactions. Severe symptoms such as swollen airways, acute asthma or becoming unconscious usually develop suddenly, often within minutes after being exposed to an allergy trigger such as a particular food. A fatality can occur within a short time of contact with an allergen. 

  • Nearly 200,000 people in the UK have a potentially life-threatening allergy
  • 1-2% of adults are affected by food allergy and 1 million children
  • 7 million people have allergies severe enough to require specialist allergy care
  • Between 10 and 20 people die every year from anaphylaxis
  • The most “at risk” group are 15 – 25-year olds

Their aim is to help people with severe allergies to be more confident in control of their lives and to create a safe environment for them by working with and educating the food industry, schools and universities, health professionals and other key audiences. Their focus is on medical facts, food labelling, risk reduction and day-to-day management of allergies. Guided by some of the UK’s top allergy experts, the Campaign has become a leading adviser to the food industry, government and health professionals.

Protecting Allergic Customers

Food allergy is real for many people, it’s not just a fad. Food allergy can be serious. Occasionally it can kill. Common causes among the UK population include peanuts, tree nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts and Brazil nuts), shellfish, fish, eggs, milk, wheat, soya, kiwi fruit and sesame seeds.

Most people who are producing or serving food understand how serious food allergy can be, but they need clear information to ensure they can minimise the risks.

By developing a good understanding of food allergy and training members of staff to develop strategies to manage risks, you will be able to ensure that customers with allergies have confidence when they eat your food.

Catering for Allergy – Assessing Risk

You will need to assess what you and your staff already know. What experience and knowledge does your team already have?

Has anyone ever seen somebody having an allergic reaction? What happened? Was a food involved?

Please take a look at the Allergywise training to ensure all your staff are confident to meet the food requirements of the students you are serving;

https://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/information-training/allergywise-training/

And information on what to do in an emergency;

https://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/what-to-do-in-an-emergency/

Catering at Christmas for the Allergic Student

With an increase in the number of festivities and celebrations at Christmas, catering for the severely allergic students, who are in the most “at risk” age group can be challenging for catering companies.

We hope these top tips will be helpful to you and the students you are catering for;

https://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/2016/11/07/stay-safe-christmas/

They've also created an Anaphylaxis Campaign Advent Calendar, tips are posted each day in the lead up to Christmas on our Facebook @anaphylaxiscomsInstagram @anaphylaxis_campaign and Twitter @Anaphylaxiscoms to help those affected by allergies stay safe this Christmas. You can also read the Helpline Team’s tips for getting ready for the festive season with their advice on all things Christmas related.

Download the University catering poster here.

The TUCO Chair's Charity, Mary's Meals, works hard supporting those suffering the effects of extreme poverty by providing every child with one daily meal in their place of education. It costs just £13.90 to feed a child for a whole school year, and TUCO members have worked hard over the years to raise significant amounts of money to support schools in Malawi.

Matthew White, TUCO Chair, and Mike Haslin, TUCO CEO, recently visited Malawi to visit four schools that benefit from the Mary's Meals programme; two of which are sponsored by TUCO. The pupils receive a free cup of nutrition-enriched porridge at the start of their day. Matthew said; "they treasure it so much they were holding their cup like a trophy to sit under a tree and eat it". For some of these pupils, it will be the only meal they eat all day. 

We are delighted to share with our members the latest report below on one of TUCO's sponsored schools; Milare Primaryin Blantyre, Malawi. The report shows how much TUCO’s support means to the children and the whole community, as well as showing you, our members, exactly how hard your donations are working.

 

I concentrate better in class when I have eaten... I dream of becoming a nurse in future so I can be injecting people. My favourite subjects are Life Skills, English, Chichewa and Maths.” - Bridget Mtambalika, 9 years, Standard 5.

"The feeding program is improving performance in class knowing they learn while full. Absenteeism has been reduced as well” - Damson Jeffrey, Teacher

The world’s largest palm oil trader, Wilmar International, has published a detailed action plan to map and monitor all of its suppliers. If implemented, this would put the palm oil giant, which supplies 40% of the world’s palm oil, one step closer to finally eliminating deforestation from its supply chain and would have a major impact on the rest of the industry.

“Wilmar supplies palm oil to most of the world’s major food and cosmetics brands. So today’s announcement is a potential breakthrough. If Wilmar keeps its word, by the end of 2019 it will be using satellites to monitor all of its palm oil suppliers, making it almost impossible for them to get away with forest destruction. Greenpeace will be watching closely to make sure Wilmar delivers,” said Kiki Taufik, Global Head of Indonesian Forests Campaign, Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

The move follows an intensive global campaign by Greenpeace that aimed to end deforestation for palm oil across the supply chain of the biggest household brands and palm oil buyers in the world. Over 1.3 million people signed a Greenpeace petition calling for an end to deforestation for palm oil.

In the past three months, activists occupied Wilmar’s refinery in Indonesia and twice boarded a tanker ship carrying Wilmar's palm oil products. Greenpeace Italy blockaded the factory of one of its major customers, Mondelez (owner of Oreo, Cadbury and Ritz). Activists across the world also brought scenes of forest destruction to Mondelez HQs around the world.

Greenpeace is now pausing its campaign to give Wilmar space to put this plan into action.

Forest destruction for commodity production is fuelling a climate and extinction crisis. Scientists warn that keeping global warming below a 1.5ºC rise means ending deforestation and restoring forests. Brands and traders promised to clean up their supply chains by 2020. However, with less than 400 days to go companies are still failing across the board, in part because traders and their customers failed to gather the maps of their suppliers’ plantations needed to monitor what happens on the ground.

Wilmar’s new action plan is designed to address that gap: it commits Wilmar to map its suppliers’ entire landbank by the end of 2019, including concessions from which it does not yet source, and to use high-resolution satellite monitoring to check for deforestation. Companies caught clearing rainforest are to be immediately suspended.

Wilmar’s announcement puts pressure on the rest of the sector, including other major commodities traders like Golden Agri Resources and Musim Mas that also source palm oil from forest destroyers. Household brands like Mondelez, Nestlé and Unilever, source from many different suppliers and have a responsibility to see equivalent commitments rolled out across the industry.

“As the world wakes up to the climate and extinction crisis, inaction is not an option. Wilmar has taken an important step and must now put its plan into action immediately. Stopping deforestation requires industry-wide action. Other traders and brands must now follow with credible plans to map and monitor all of their suppliers. Equally important is action to end exploitation and human rights abuses in the palm oil sector,” said Taufik.

The cocktail boom which has taken hold of the UK bar scene is set to continue into 2019 and beyond as latest CGA data released today by cocktail experts Funkin reveals they are continuing to grow consistently in value, volume, frequency and outlet penetration. 

Currently worth £550m* the cocktail market has seen an 8.6% year on year value increase with 41,000 outlets across the country now featuring a cocktail offering, which is a year on year increase of 3.7%.

“Cocktails are maintaining their stronghold over the on-trade as outlets raise their game, bartenders get more creative and consumers get more discerning,” explains Ben Anderson, Funkin Head of Marketing.

“The CGA research also shows that one in four consumers or 28% of the population say they are drinking more cocktails now than they were six months ago, so it’s safe to say that the cocktail market has yet to reach its tipping point and will continue to grow into 2019 and beyond.”

Data also reveals that the Pornstar Martin is now the nation’s number one cocktail, scooping the revered title from the long-standing incumbent Mojito.

The Pornstar Martini now accounts for almost 15% of cocktails served within the on-trade, compared to the Mojito which claims only 13% of all cocktail bar calls across the nation. Created in 2002, this fruity vodka based cocktail with a side serving of Champagne or Prosecco is more popular now than in the noughties.

“The Pornstar Martini is an indulgent modern classic cocktail that has featured on drinks menus for over 16 years and we’re proud that its creator, acclaimed mixologist Douglas Ankrah, chose to use FunkinPRO Passion Fruit Purée in his original serve,” adds Anderson, 

Established in 1999, Funkin has been at the forefront of flavour and ingredient innovation for 19 years and has developed a premium range of products which makes it easy for outlets of all kinds to capitalise on the cocktail opportunity.

FunkinPRO includes an extensive range of purées, syrups and dried garnishes for professional bartenders; Funkin Pre-Batched Cocktail Mixers offer a quick and consistent solution for mainstream bars and pubs and now includes Funkin Espresso Martini.

Funkin Cocktails on Tap, launched earlier this year, offers four serves, Pina Colada, Pornstar Martini, Pink Grapefruit Collins and Mojito, designed for fast service in high traffic bar and pub environments.

 

*CGA Mixed Drinks Report Q3 2018

Set your place at Mary’s Meals Big Family Christmas dinner table and give the gift of hope to children receiving Mary's Meals.

This year, the cost of a typical Christmas dinner could be up to £20 per person. But by setting a place at Mary’s Meals virtual table for just £13.90 you will feed a child at a place of education in some of the world's poorest communities for an entire school year. After all, there's always room for one more at Christmas.

What's more, the new campaign, Double The Love, will see the UK government match public donations to Mary’s Meals until 1 March 2019.

The UK government funding means public donations to Double The Love will be doubled by the UK government, up to £2 million. This will enable Mary’s Meals to reach thousands more chronically hungry children in Zambia with a life-changing meal every school day.

The Double The Love campaign was officially announced in Dalmally, Argyll, where the global work of Mary’s Meals first began.

And there was a double treat in store for the charity’s founder and global chief executive Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow when he visited the village primary school to celebrate the news.

Two sets of identical twins, four-year-olds Grace and Flora MacDougall, and eight-year-olds Ed and Ollie Cowdry, welcomed him to Dalmally Primary.

Commenting on today’s launch, Magnus said: “We had a wonderful welcome at Dalmally Primary School, where the children are always so enthusiastic about the work of Mary’s Meals.

“Our wonderful supporters of all ages never cease to amaze us with their love and kindness. With match funding from the UK government, we have a wonderful opportunity to create an even bigger impact and transform the lives of many, many more hungry children with the gift of food and education.”

Zambia suffers from high rates of malnutrition, poverty and food insecurity. Children can often be found working in fields, begging on street corners or scavenging for food just to survive. More than 360,000 primary school-age children are out of school, and those who do attend are often so hungry they don’t have the energy to concentrate and learn in class.

But, by providing one good meal every day in school, Mary’s Meals attracts impoverished children to the classroom where they can gain an all-important education.

Mary’s Meals has been working with communities in Zambia since 2014 and is now feeding more than 92,000 children there every school day.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “Every time the British public reach into their pockets and donate to a UK Aid Match charity their generosity directly changes the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

“In Zambia many children do not attend school. Instead they work in the fields, beg on street corners and scavenge for food. The UK government is committed to ensuring that every child across the world receives 12 years of quality education.

“That is why we are so proud to support Mary’s Meals through UK Aid Match. The ‘Double the Love’ campaign will ensure that Zambian children are given a nutritious school-meal every day. Their vital work not only gets children back into school, but it also means that those children do not go hungry.”

Around the world, Mary’s Meals is reaching 1,361,586 impoverished children in 17 countries, giving them the energy and opportunity to gain an education that can one day be their ladder out of poverty.

With the charity’s low cost approach, a donation of just £13.90 will feed a child for a whole school year. During Double The Love, that same donation, when matched by the UK government, will feed two hungry children for an entire school year.

To set a place at Mary’s Meals Big Family Christmas dinner table, please visit www.marysmeals.org.uk/big-family-christmas-table

For further information on the Double The Love appeal, and to find out how to get involved, please visit www.marysmeals.org.uk

There are an estimated one million cases of food poisoning in the UK every year, and without attention to food hygiene, this doesn’t stop during the festive season.

To save your loved ones from a nasty bout of food poisoning over the holidays, follow these tips from the Food Standards Agency to keep your festive season truly the most wonderful time of the year. 

FOOD POISONING DURING THE FESTIVITIES

Cooking a Christmas roast for a large gathering can be a challenge, and it is vital that the turkey, or other meat of choice, is stored, defrosted and cooked correctly. Likewise, leftovers from Christmas need to be reheated and consumed within specific timeframes in order to avoid food poisoning.

While many people mistakenly think that food poisoning is just a passing stomach bug, it can have serious consequences – especially for children, people already in ill-health and older people.

Adam Hardgrave, Expert in Foodborne Disease Control at the Food Standards Agency, said: “The 4Cs of food hygiene: chilling, cleaning, cooking and avoiding cross-contamination are important throughout the year, but especially at Christmas.”

“In the flurry of Christmas preparations, it’s important to remember to plan ahead and allow plenty of time. Remember that an average-sized turkey can take four days to fully defrost in the fridge, and it is vital to thoroughly cook a turkey so it is steaming hot, there is no pink meat visible, and juices run clear.”

TOP TIPS

The FSA has put together some top tips to help you plan your festive feast, and to alleviate some of the stress of preparing your Christmas meal.

BEFORE THE BIG DAY

1.SHOPPING

Avoid cross-contamination when doing your Christmas food shopping: make sure you take enough bags, so you can pack raw and ready-to-eat food separately.

2.STORING THE TURKEY      

In the fridge, store the turkey and other raw food separately from cooked and ready-to-eat food. Keep raw food covered and chilled on the bottom shelf of the fridge, and regularly check that

the fridge is cold enough. Your fridge should always be below 5°C. A fridge’s dial is not usually an accurate indicator of the temperature, so use a fridge thermometer to check this, widely available in larger supermarkets, home stores and online.

3.DEFROSTING YOUR TURKEY

If your turkey is frozen, make sure you check the guidance on the packaging to ensure you have enough time to fully defrost it. Defrost it according to size – a typical turkey weighting 6 to 7kg could take as much time as four days to fully defrost in the fridge.

If there aren’t instructions on the packaging, these times are useful as a guide:

  • In a fridge at 4°C, allow around 10 to 12 hours per kg (remember that not all fridges will be this temperature).
  • In a cool room (below 17.5°

Always defrost the turkey in a container large enough to catch any juices. Do not defrost food at room temperature. If necessary, use a microwave on the ‘defrost setting’ directly before cooking.

CHRISTMAS DAWNS!

4.PREPARING YOUR TURKEY

Avoid cross-contamination by using different utensils, plates and chopping boards for ready-to-eat food and raw food. Don’t wash raw turkey or any other meat – it splashes germs onto your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops. Thorough cooking will kill any bacteria present.

5.COOKING THE TURKEY

To work out the cooking time for the turkey or other meat, check the guidance on the packaging, and the manufacturer’s handbook for your oven if you can.

As a general guide, allow 45 minutes per kg plus 20 minutes for a turkey under 4.5kg. Allow 35 minutes per kg for a turkey weighing more than 6.5kg.

6.USING A TEMPERATURE PROBE OR COOKING THEMOMETER

If you’re using a temperature probe – used to check the internal temperature occasionally – you should ensure the thickest part of the bird (between breast and thigh) reaches a temperature of 70°C for more than two minutes. This temperature guide also applies if you’re using a cooking thermometer – which is left in the bird while it cooks.

7.CHECKING IT’S COOKED

Always check that the meat is steaming hot throughout, there is no pink meat visible when you cut into the thickest part, and that the meat juices run clear.

8.TIME SAVING HOT TURKEY TIP

Cooking your turkey in advance could save you getting stressed and gives you more time on the day with family and friends. Once your turkey is cooked and cooled, slice and batch it into portions to store in the freezer. You can then take out and reheat the amount you need when you need it.

POST-CHRISTMAS PAUSE

9.LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS

Once Christmas day is over and you have lots of delicious leftovers, be sure to follow these guidelines.

  • Cool any leftovers at room temperature, then cover them and ensure they go into the fridge or freezer within one to two hours
  • If you freeze cooked meats, once defrosted, eat the food within 24 hours
  • When you come to use frozen leftovers, make sure you defrost them thoroughly in the fridge overnight or in the microwave (on the defrost setting) and then reheat until steaming hot
  • Don’t forget that leftovers should be eaten or frozen within two days (one day for rice dishes)

10.HAPPY SEASON’S EATINGS

Once you’ve followed these gudielines around food hygiene, it’s time to sit down to a perfectly cooked meal with your loved ones, and enjoy this festive season.

 

For more information visit: www.food.gov.uk/seasons-eatings

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