'Tis the season for food poisoning



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'Tis the season for food poisoning - Radio NZ

Christmas is a time for giving, but a public health expert says people aren't just receiving presents at this time of year.

Professor Michael Baker from Otago University's Department of Public Health said Christmas dinner could be making a second, third or fourth appearance if handled poorly.

But there are things you can do to avoid any unwanted microscopic guests ruining Christmas.

Prof Baker said cases of gastroenteritis and food poisoning tend to peak in summer.

"The ones you really need to watch out for are bacteria that may multiply at room temperature on food, like salmonella and the staph toxin is produced by food that's left out," he said.

Prof Baker said the best way to avoid this was keeping food in the fridge rather than out on the table, but the one exception was a Christmas favourite - chicken - which made about 100 people sick with campylobacter every day.