You can reduce your risk of food poisoning by thoroughly cooking your food. You are taking chances whenever you eat meat, poultry or fish that’s raw or only partly cooked.
Tips to make sure the meat, poultry or fish you eat is safe
- Ground meat always needs to be cooked all the way through.
- Cook meat, poultry, fish and eggs to a high enough temperature.
- Use a meat thermometer to check that meat is cooked all the way through. Push the thermometer into the thickest section of the meat you are cooking, making sure it’s not touching bone, fat or gristle.
- The right amount of cooking depends on the kind of meat. Poultry is cooked when its juices run clear. Fish flakes with a fork. Solid pieces of beef only need to be cooked thoroughly on the outside. Pork must be cooked throughout.
- Wash, rinse and sanitize your food probe thermometer between uses.
Your cooked food should be kept out of the danger zone (between 4°C (40°F) and 60°C (140°F)), where bacteria grow rapidly.
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Tips to make sure your cooked food is safe
- After cooking, keep hot food at 60°C (140°F) or hotter until it’s served.
- Serve hot food while hot, or put it in the fridge or freezer as soon as possible once cooled (within two hours of preparation).
- Never leave food out for more than two hours.
- Use clean dishes and utensils to serve food. Never use the same ones you used when preparing raw food.
- Never leave perishable food outside the refrigerator for more than two hours.
- Pack lunches in insulated carriers with a cold pack. Warn children never to leave lunches in direct sun or on a warm radiator.
- Keep cold party food on ice or serve it on platters from the refrigerator.
- Divide hot party food into smaller serving platters. Keep platters refrigerated until it's time to warm them up for serving.
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Microwaves are great time-savers but they can sometimes leaves cold spots in food where bacteria may survive.
Tips for safe microwaving
- Cover food with a lid or plastic wrap that is approved for microwaving. The steam will help food cook thoroughly. Leave a small section uncovered so steam can escape, and do not let the wrap touch the food.
- Stir and rotate food for even cooking. If there is no turntable in the oven, rotate the dish by hand once or twice during cooking.
- Observe the "standing" time called for in recipe or package directions. Food finishes cooking during the standing time.
- Use a meat thermometer to check that your food is ready. Insert it at several spots.
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Temperature rules for safe cooking
Meat, poultry, fish and eggs need to be heated to a high enough temperature for a long enough time to prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying. Cook food until it’s inside temperature reaches a safe temperature and then continue cooking for at least 15 seconds :
Required Temperatures for different foods
|Whole Poultry ( chicken, turkey, duck)
|Poultry Pieces ( chicken, turkey, duck)
|Stuffing in poultry
|Duck, goose, pheasant
|Beef, veal, lamb or goat (pieces and whole cuts)
||Medium Rare: 63°C (145°F)
Medium: 71°C (160°F)
Well Done: 77°C (170°F)
|Pork or fresh cured ham (pieces and whole cuts)
Beef, veal, lamb and pork ground meat and meat mixtures (burgers, sausages, meatballs, meatloaf, casseroles)
|Pork (pieces and whole cuts)
|Seafoods (fish, shellfish and other seafood)
|Food Mixtures containing poultry, eggs, meat or fish (soups, stews, casseroles, stocks, gravy)
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Barbeques and Picnics
Ontarians love to barbecue, especially when the weather starts to get warm. Food poisoning risk increases during the summer when people are more likely to be cooking outdoors. Harmful bacteria spread quickly in warm, moist conditions, so it’s especially important to follow safe food handling guidelines. Here’s some food safety tips that can help keep you and your family safe from food poisoning during the warm summer months.
In the cooler
- If you are storing your meat in a cooler, make sure that the cooler is kept cold with ice packs, dry ice or ice cubes from a safe drinking source.
- Keep the cooler out of direct sunlight.
- Avoid opening the cooler often. You may want to use a separate cooler for drinks as it will probably get opened more often.
- Always remember to keep food out of the temperature danger zone of 4°C to 60°C (40°F to 140°F). Your food can become dangerous after only two hours in this range.
Safe cooking tips
- Cook meat thoroughly to a safe temperature. Use a clean food probe thermometer to be sure!
- Keep cold food cold and hot foot hot until it’s served. You can keep cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill.
- Discard any food left out for more than two hours. On hot summer days don’t keep any food out for more than one hour.
- Keep raw meat away from other foods. You can do this by packing meats separately or by making sure they are wrapped separately, so that juices don't leak out onto other foods.
- Wash your hands carefully with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat.
- Clean your cooking equipment, utensils and work surfaces and sanitize them with a mild bleach solution (5mL (1tsp) bleach with 750mL (3 cups) water).
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For More Information
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