The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is advising consumers buying turkey, duck, capon or goose products in the run up to Christmas that they may have been previously frozen and defrosted before being placed on sale as chilled.
The products should be clearly labelled as ‘defrosted’ and are suitable for home freezing if it says so on the label. Information will be available in-store and on retailers' websites.
Supermarkets would have previously frozen and defrosted some products to maintain stock levels in the busy lead up to the festive season.
This temporary change will apply to some turkey, duck, capon and goose products on sale from 28 November to 31 December and does not apply to chicken.
The advice from the FSA, which applies only to England and Wales, comes after the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) (Opens in a new window) and the Welsh Government (Opens in a new window) announced a range of measures to help support the poultry industry with the current challenges presented by bird flu.
Food hygiene advice for consumers handling all poultry, including chilled and previously frozen Christmas turkey, duck, capon and geese products:
- Wash your hands before and after handling raw poultry meat
- Don’t wash whole birds or poultry meat products
- Check the use-by date
- Follow the storage instructions on the label, and only freeze chilled poultry meat if the label says it is suitable for home freezing
- If your bird is frozen, check the label, as some smaller birds can be cooked from frozen
- You may need to allow extra time to defrost a large bird before cooking. Plan this in advance, as a whole turkey can take between 3 to 5 days to properly defrost.
- Follow the cooking instructions, and make sure it’s steaming hot throughout.
Bird flu advice for consumers:
Properly cooked poultry and poultry products including your Christmas turkey, duck, capon or goose, are safe to eat. Bird flu poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers, and it does not change the FSA’s advice on consumption of poultry products.
For more tips on storing, defrosting, cooking your Christmas dinner and what to do with any leftovers visit food.gov.uk