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Well before the Christmas issues became a regular feature, I wrote a short piece in the Epidemiology column of the journal. It was titled 'Cooking the Christmas Dinner' [BMJ; 20 December 1975] and garnered extensive publicity.
It is another example of a lighter-hearted pre-Christmas article that seems to have had considerable impact by changing our attitudes to food poisoning investigation and prevention in this country. Prior to that we had huge outbreaks of food poisoning following Christmas dinners in institution canteens, and sporadic outbreaks elsewhere. The poultry federation and probably the DHSS [as it then was] got together and eventually the public became aware not only of cooking poultry properly but avoiding food poisoning using basic hygiene principles. The huge outbreaks affecting large numbers of persons following a single meal appear now to have gone.
No competing interests
08 January 2020
NORMAN D NOAH
Professor Emeritus Infectious Disease Epidemiology