Health Topics

Food Safety at Home

Protect your family from foodborne illness by following these four safe food handling tips.

1. Clean

Tips for cleaning include:

  • Wash your hands, utensils, cutting boards and cooking surfaces. Wash hands with soap and warm water before you begin preparing food, between handling raw foods and ready-to-eat foods and when you have finished.
  • Sanitize food surfaces like cutting boards, utensils and counter tops with a bleach and water solution.
  • Wash your fruit and vegetables in cool water before eating and preparing food. Scrub fruits and vegetables that have rinds and firm surfaces like oranges, cantaloupe, watermelon and carrots.

2. Separate

Tips for separating include:

  • Keep foods like raw meat, seafood and poultry and their juices separate from cooked and ready-to-eat foods. Cross-contamination is how bacteria spread.
  • Store ready-to-eat foods on a shelf above raw foods in the fridge.
  • Use different cutting boards for raw foods like meat, seafood and poultry and for ready-to-eat foods like salad and fruit.

3. Cook

Tips for cooking include:

  • Cook food thoroughly. Bacteria can survive in food if it is not cooked to the right internal temperature.
  • Keep hot foods hot! Keep your food out of the danger zone, between 4 C (40 F) and 60 C (140 F).
  • Use a probe food thermometer to check internal temperatures of food. See the chart below for internal temperatures of thoroughly cooked food.
Food Temperature
Ground meat and meat mixtures  
beef, pork, veal, lamb 71 C (160 F)
turkey, chicken 74 C (165 F)
Fresh beef, veal, lamb  
medium rare 63 C (145 F)
medium 71 C (160 F)
well done 77 C (170 F)
chicken and turkey, whole 82 C (180 F)
poultry parts 74 C (165 F)
duck and goose 74 C (165 F)
stuffing (cooked alone or in a bird) 74 C (165 F)
Fresh pork  
medium 71 C (160 F)
fresh (raw) 71 C (160 F)
pre-cooked (to reheat) 74 C (165 F)
Egg and egg dishes  
egg dishes and casseroles 74 C (165 F)
fish 70 C (158 F) 
flesh is opaque
shrimp, lobster, crab 74 C (165 F)
flesh is pearly & opaque
clams, oysters, mussels Shells open during cooking
leftovers and casseroles 74 C (165 F)

Temperatures provided by Health Canada

4. Chill

Tips for chilling include:

  • Keep food out of the danger zone, between 4 C (40 F) and 60 C (140 F).  Bacteria grow quickly above or below these temperatures.
  • Cool foods within two hours of preparing them. You can put food in shallow pans, ice baths and separate food into smaller batches to cool.
  • Store your food in the fridge at 4 C (40 F) or lower and in the freezer at -18 C (0 F) or lower. 

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