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Food Safety at Home

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Food Safety at Home


  • Avoid food poisonings at home by using a probe thermometer to make sure your food is cooked to a safe internal temperature. Click here to download a poster with more information.


  • Cookie Dough, Backseat Turkey and other Holiday Hazards - Click here for a fact sheet on food safety tips to keep your holidays healthy


It’s important for all at home cooks and backyard chefs to fight bacteria and take four key steps to reduce the risk of food poisoning when we preparing food at home: CLEAN, SEPARATE, COOK AND CHILL.

Click on the links below to learn more:


Food Poisoning

There are nearly 250 different types of bacteria, viruses and parasites that are known to cause food poisoning. A few of these are very common and account for the majority of cases of illness. Some cause serious diseases or death, but most cause only a mild illness ranging from slight discomfort to more serious symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps and dehydration.

Did you know…

  • Rice has been the cause of some food poisonings.
  • Lettuce can cause food poisonings.
  • Thawing meat at room temperature is a risk.
  • The symptoms for food poisoning can take from 2 hours to one week to occur.
  • Cutting the mould off food does not make it safe to eat.
  • Contaminated food can be odourless and tasteless.




  • Wash your hands with soap and water for a full 20 seconds before and after handling raw foods.
  • Make sure you use clean utensils and cooking surfaces when making foods.
  • Wash and sanitize utensils after use. A mild bleach and water solution makes an effective sanitizer.
  • Use plastic or other non-porous cutting boards.
  • Run cutting boards through the dishwasher or wash with soap and hot water before sanitizing with a mild bleach and water solution after each use.
  • To make a bleach and water sanitizer, mix 5 mL bleach with 1L water (1 tsp bleach to 34 oz water). If you are making the solution in a spray bottle, mix a fresh batch every few days as bleach loses its effectiveness.

For more information, click here.




  • Don't cross-contaminate by letting foods and their juices come into contact with one another during preparation.
  • Store raw meat, poultry, and seafood on a plate or tray, so that any raw juices don't drip onto other foods.
  • Use one cutting board for raw meat products and another one for salads and other ready-to-eat foods OR wash cutting boards in between each use.
  • Never place cooked food on a plate that once held raw meat, poultry, or seafood unless the plate has been washed.
  • Don't spread bacteria with dirty sponges, dishcloths, or towels. Bacteria like the moist areas of these items where bits of food may also exist. Use paper towels OR freshly-cleaned sponges OR cloths and soap and hot water to clean food preparation surfaces.

NOTE:  Make sure to thaw all meats on a plate on the bottom shelf of your fridge.

For more information, click here.




  • Use a probe thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature.
  • Cook foods until they are safely done and serve right away.  
  • Use a pasteurized egg product in recipes that call for raw or cooked eggs.
  • Cook fish until it's opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
  • Make sure there are no cold spots in food (where bacteria can survive) when microwaving. For best results, cover, stir, and rotate food for even cooking. If there's no turntable, rotate the dish by hand once or twice during cooking.
  • Reheat food to at least the original cook temperature for that food for at least 15 seconds, except for whole poultry which must be reheated to 74 ºC for 15 seconds. Once food is cooked or reheated to its proper final cooking temperature, it can be held at 60ºC.

For more information, click here.


Safe to eat at…


- Whole pieces

- Individual pieces



82ºC or 180ºF

74ºC or 165ºF

Mixtures containing poultry, egg, meat,fish or other hazardous food

74ºC or 165ºF


Beef & Veal - hamburger, deboned and rolled roasts

71ºC or 160ºF


Pork - all products

71ºC or 160ºF


Lamb - ground, deboned and rolled

71ºC or 160ºF


Fish - all products

70ºC or 158ºF




  • Follow the "two-hour' rule by freezing or refrigerating leftovers within two hours.
  • Don't over-stuff the refrigerator. Cold air must circulate to keep food safe. The refrigerator temperature needs to be 4º C or below and freezers should be set to -18º C or below. Check these temperatures every once and awhile by using an appliance thermometer.
  • Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator.
  • Never keep salads that contain meats, cheese or fish out of the fridge for more than two hours.

NOTE: Keep your fridge cold - it should always be at 40ºF or 4ºC.

For more information, click here.



Defrosting and Marinating

  • Never defrost or marinate food at room temperature. Use the refrigerator. You can also thaw foods in airtight packaging in cold water (change the water every 30 minutes, so the food continues to thaw). Or, thaw in the microwave if you'll be cooking the food right away.


Last Updated: 12/22/2015