HYGIENE bosses have warned Christmas chefs of the dangers of festive food poisoning from careless cooking of the turkey.

The national Food Standards Agency and a council environment boss have jointly urged people ensure the bird is fully defrosted and fully cooked.

They have also warned against washing raw turkeys for fear of spreading infections in the kitchen,

Adam Hardgrave, head of Foodborne Disease Control at the FSA, said: “The four Cs of food hygiene: chilling, cleaning, cooking and avoiding cross-contamination are important at Christmas.

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

Cllr Paul Cox, Hyndburn's environment boss said: “Cooking a Christmas roast for a large gathering can be a challenge, and it is vital that the turkey is stored, defrosted and cooked correctly. Leftovers from Christmas need to be reheated and consumed within specific timeframes."