Anxiety devours confidence as 78% do not know how to cook turkey properly


It’s the meat that many Irish people like to hate, but turkey will remain the centerpiece of most plates on December 25th, despite more than one in four worried about the health consequences of improperly prepared.

According to a study by Safefood published Wednesday morning, 72 percent of people will serve turkey as part of their Christmas dinner this year, even though 78 percent of them don’t know what temperature a turkey should be cooked to.

With its annual Talking Turkey campaign, the food safety watchdog encouraged people to invest in a meat thermometer, a cheap and easy-to-use device that would supposedly take the guesswork out of the nicest meal of the year.

“Christmas dinner is one of the most anticipated meals of the year, especially this year,” said Dr. Gary Kearney from Safefood. “If you want to bring something into your Christmas kitchen, it is a reliable meat thermometer.”

75 degrees

He said that when the temperature reaches 75 degrees at the thickest part of the turkey, between the leg and the breast, it is cooked and ready to eat.

“For poultry such as turkey and chicken and other meat that needs to be cooked through, it is important that it gets piping hot without the pink meat and the juice becomes clear. Using a meat thermometer provides additional security, ”he said.

It seems that people need this confirmation, with 27 percent of people surveyed for the Safefood study admitting they were concerned about undercooking their turkey and being sure it was safe to eat, while 7 percent worried about overcooking it and serving a dry turkey.

“Stressful Eating”

While turkey and ham remain the most frequently cooked meat on Christmas Day with 72 and 60 percent respectively, 17 percent of people cook beef, 16 percent cook chicken and 8 percent enjoy a meatless Christmas dinner.

The Marker Hotel’s Chef Gareth Mullins, in his role as Ambassador for Safefood’s Trust the Meat Thermometer Campaign, said that for some people, cooking Christmas dinner can be “the most stressful meal of the year because you want it to be as tasty as possible but with “so many ingredients and different times to manage it can be difficult.”

Safefood also highlighted some of the myths surrounding turkeys. It was said that people should never rinse or wash turkeys “as it can spread food poisoning beetles in your kitchen”. It is also said that stuffed turkeys take longer to cook than unfilled ones, and warned that turkeys cannot be cooked from a frozen state.


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