Food Safety


Chill


Keep cold foods cold! This will reduce the risk of food poisoning. Cold temperatures slow down the growth of bacteria. Reduce your risk of food poisoning by keeping your perishable foods cold. Food should be kept at :

Chill

Tips



Refrigeration

Refrigerator tips :


Tips for cooling down hot food


How long will my food keep in the fridge or freezer?

Check out the chart below for safe refrigerator and freezer storage times for many common foods. If you’re not sure how long your food’s been around, it’s always best to follow the ‘when in doubt throw it out’ rule.

When you’re checking food in your fridge :


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Storage Chart

  Refrigerator
4ºC (40ºF)
Freezer
-18ºC (0ºF)
FRESH MEAT
Beef - Steaks, Roasts 2-4 days 10-12 months
Pork-Chops, Roasts 2-4 days 8-12 months
Lamb-Chops, Roasts 2-4 days 8-12 months
Veal Roasts 3-4 days 8-12 months
Ground Meat 1-2 days 2-3 months
FRESH POULTRY
Chicken, Turkey - whole 2-3 days 1 year
Chicken, Turkey - pieces 2-3 days 6 months
FRESH FISH
Lean fish (e.g., cod, flounder) 3-4 days 6 months
Fatty fish (e.g., salmon) 3-4 days 2 months
Shellfish (e.g., clams, crab, lobster) 12-24 hours 2-4 months
Scallops, Shrimp, Cooked Shellfish 1-2 days 2-4 months
HAM
Canned ham 6-9 months Don't Freeze
Ham, fully cooked (half & slices) 3-4 days 2-3 months
BACON & SAUSAGE
Bacon 1 week 1 month
Sausage, raw (pork, beef, turkey) 1-2 days 1-2 months
Pre-cooked, smoked links or patties 1 week 1-2 months
LEFTOVERS
Cooked meat, stews, egg or vegetable dishes 3-4 days 2-3 months
Gravy & meat broth 1-2 days 2-3 months
Cooked poultry and fish 3-4 days 4-6 months
Soups 2-3 days 4 months
HOT DOGS & LUNCH MEATS
Hotdogs 2 weeks 1-2 months
Hotdogs - Opened 1 week  
Lunch meats 2 weeks 1-2 months
Lunch meats - Opened 3-5 days 1-2 months
DELI FOODS
Deli meats 3-4 days 2-3 months
Store-prepared or homemade salads 3-5 days Don't freeze
TV DINNERS / FROZEN CASSEROLES
Keep frozen until ready to serve   3-4 months
EGGS
Fresh - in shell 3-4 weeks Don't Freeze
Fresh -out of shell 2-4 days 4 months
Hardcooked 1 week Doesn't freeze well
Egg substitutes 10 days 1 year
Opened 3 days Don't freeze
DAIRY PRODUCTS
Milk Check Best Before date 6 weeks
Milk - opened 3 days  
Cottage cheese Check Best Before date Doesn't freeze well
Cottage cheese - opened 3 days  
Yogurt Check Best Before date 1-2 months
Yogurt - opened 3 days  
Cheese - Soft 1 week Doesn't freeze well
Cheese - Semi-soft 2-3 weeks 8 weeks
Cheese - Firm 5 weeks 3 months
Cheese - Hard 10 months Up to a year
Cheese - Processed Several months 3 months
Cheese - Opened 3-4 weeks Don't freeze
Butter - Salted 8 weeks 1 year
Butter - Unsalted 8 weeks 3 months
Butter - Opened 3 weeks Don't freeze
COMMERCIAL MAYONNAISE
(refrigerate after opening) 2 months Don't freeze
VEGETABLES
Beans, green or waxed 5 days 8 months
Carrots 2 weeks 10-12 months
Celery 2 weeks 10-12 months
Lettuce, leaf 3-7 days Don't freeze
Lettuce, iceberg 1-2 weeks Don't freeze
Spinach 2-4 days 10-12 months
Squash, summer 1 week 10-12 months
Squash, winter 2 weeks 10-12 months
Tomatoes Not recommended 2 months

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If your power is off

Without power, a full upright or chest freezer will keep everything frozen for about 2 days. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for 1 day. Your refrigerator section will keep food cool for 4 to 6 hours, depending on the temperature in your kitchen.

Tips to keep your food safe during a power outage


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Freezing and Defrosting

Buy cold food last and get it home fas


Freezer tips


Thawing tips


When thawing food in the microwave, be sure to use microwavable containers.

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For More Information

Call ServiceOntario, Infoline at 1-866-532-3161
In Toronto, 416-314-5518
TTY 1-800-387-5559
In Toronto, TTY 416-327-4282
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