Food Safety

To avoid getting a food-borne illness, more commonly know as "food poisoning", it's important that you prepare and store your food in a safe and clean way.  This can be simply accomplished by following the 4 basic food safety principles:  Clean, Separate, Cook & Chill.

Clean:  Bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get on hands, cutting boards, knives and countertops. Frequent cleaning can prevent that from happening.
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
  • Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food.
  • Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
  • Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under cool running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten.
  • Rub firm-skin fruits and vegetables under cool running tap water or scrub with a clean vegetable brush while rinsing with running tap water. 
Separate:  Cross-contamination is how harmful bacteria spread. Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and their juices separate from foods that won’t be cooked.
  • Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood.
  • Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from other foods in your grocery shopping cart, grocery bags and in your refrigerator.
  • Never place cooked food on an unwashed plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs.
Cook:  Even for experienced cooks, the improper heating and preparation of food means bacteria can survive.
  • Use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of cooked foods. Make sure that meat, poultry, egg dishes, casseroles and other foods and leftovers are cooked to the appropriate internal temperatures.
  • Cook ground meat or ground poultry until it reaches a safe internal temperature. Colour is not a reliable indicator of doneness.
  • Bring sauces, soups and gravy to a boil when reheating.
Chill:  Bacteria multiply fastest at temperatures between 4°C (40°F) and 60°C (140°F), so chilling food properly is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of illness.
  • Chill leftovers and takeout foods within 2 hours.
  • Keep the fridge at 4°C (40°F) or below and use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature.
  • Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs and other perishables as soon as you get them home from the store.
  • Never defrost food at room temperature. Food must be kept at a safe temperature during thawing. There are three safe ways to defrost food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave. Food thawed in the micro wave should be cooked immediately.
For more information visit the BeFoodSafe website.