OTTAWA, June 23, 2014 /CNW/ -
Summer is here, and more people are cooking outside to take advantage of
the sunshine and the warm temperatures. But the hot, humid weather,
coupled with more difficult access to refrigeration or washing
facilities, creates the perfect conditions for the rapid growth of
bacteria on food.
Every year in Canada, roughly one in eight Canadians (or four million
people) get sick with food poisoning, also known as foodborne illness.
Many cases of foodborne illness can be prevented by following proper
food handling and preparation techniques. While most people recover
completely from foodborne illness, certain groups have a higher risk
for serious health effects. These groups include pregnant women,
children ages 5 and under, adults 60 years old and over, and people
with weakened immune systems.
What you should do
Learn about the symptoms of foodborne illness. The most common symptoms
include: stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. See a
health care professional as soon as possible if you think you have a
Follow these four steps when handing and preparing food: clean, separate, cook and chill.
Step One - Clean:
Wash hands and surfaces often to avoid the spread of bacteria.
Wash your hands with warm water and soap, rinsing for at least 20
seconds, before handling food, and after handling raw meat or poultry,
using the bathroom, touching pets or changing diapers. Alcohol-based
hand cleansers are useful when soap and water are not available. In
most cases antibacterial soap is not necessary for safe, effective hand
Always wash raw fruits and vegetables with clean water. You cannot tell
whether foods carry surface bacteria by the way they look, smell or
Step Two - Separate:
Keep raw meats, such as ground beef or pork, poultry, fish and seafood
separate from cooked or ready-to-eat foods to avoid
When you pack a cooler for an outing, wrap uncooked meat, poultry, fish
and seafood securely and put them on the bottom to prevent raw juices
from dripping onto other foods. Ideally, use a separate cooler for the
Wash all plates, utensils, and cutting boards that touched or held raw
meat, poultry, fish or seafood before using them again for other foods.
Wash hands after handling raw meat and wash the food thermometer
(preferably a digital one) after each temperature reading.
Step Three - Cook:
Make sure you kill harmful bacteria by properly cooking food.
Checking the colour is not a guarantee that food is properly cooked and
safe to eat. Don't guess! Use a digital food thermometer to check when
meat, poultry, fish and seafood are safe to eat. Cooked foods are safe
to eat when internal temperatures are:
Beef, veal and lamb (pieces and whole cuts)
63o C (145o F) for medium rare
71o C (160o F) for medium
77o C (170o F) for well done
70o C (158o F) for fish
71o C (160o F) for ground beef, veal, lamb and pork
71oC (160o F) for pork (pieces and whole cuts)
74o C (165o F) for shellfish, leftover food, and boned and deboned poultry parts
85o C (185o F) for whole poultry
Step Four - Chill:
Keep cold food cold. Perishable foods that are normally in the
refrigerator, such as luncheon meats, cooked meat, chicken, and potato
or pasta salads made with mayonnaise must be kept in an insulated
cooler with freezer packs or blocks of ice to keep the temperature at 4o C (40o F).
Keep the cooler out of direct sunlight and avoid opening it too often.
Use separate coolers for food and drinks to keep the perishable food
colder for longer because the cooler won't be opened as often.
Put leftovers back in the cooler as soon as you are finished eating.
On hot summer days, don't keep food unrefrigerated for more than one
The simple rule is: When in doubt, throw it out!
For more information
Food Safety and You
Food Safety for Vulnerable Populations
Safe Internal Cooking Temperatures
Food Safety Tips for Barbecuing
Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education
Estimates of Foodborne Illness in Canada - Public Health Agency of
Stay connected with Health Canada and receive the latest advisories and
product recalls using social media tools.
SOURCE: Health Canada
For further information:
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