Safe Food Handling

When handling food, you need to be food safe. Food safety is about properly handling, storing, cooking and reheating food to prevent contamination and foodborne illness.

Many foodborne illnesses can be prevented by following these safe food-handling practices: 

  • Cook
  • Clean
  • Chill
  • Separate

Clean – Practice clean cooking

When working with food products, it is important that you keep your working station clean. You should:

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food
  • Clean cutting boards, utensils and countertops with warm water and dish soap and sanitize using a mild bleach solution (1 teaspoon bleach per 4 cups of water)
  • Clean your reusable grocery bag and bins after each use

If you have been vomiting or have diarrhea, don't handle food until at least 24 hours after your symptoms have stopped.

Cook – Cook food to the appropriate temperature

Check the internal temperature of meat products before eating using a food probe thermometer. The only way to kill harmful bacteria is to cook food to safe temperatures. You should also reheat food to the original cooking temperature.

Review our internal cooking temperatures to find out when it is safe to eat each type of meat product.

Minimal internal cooking temperatures
Meat typeTemperature in CelsiusTemperature in Fahrenheit

Whole poultry (chicken, turkey)

82 degrees

180 degrees

Poultry pieces or ground poultry

74 degrees

165 degrees

Ground meat (beef, pork, lamb)

71 degrees

160 degrees

Pork and pork product

71 degrees

160 degrees


70 degrees

158 degrees

Chill – Store food in the cold

Certain foods need to be refrigerated or else they will spoil. You should also place leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer within 2 hours of eating. Always keep your refrigerator at 4 degrees Celsius or below.

Thaw meat in the refrigerator, microwave, or under cold running water – not at room temperature. Never let meat or poultry sit out at room temperature or in the sun for longer than two hours.

Separate – Store raw meat separately

Don't cross-contaminate raw meet with other food products, such as fruits and vegetables. You should:

  • Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods in your grocery bag and refrigerator
  • Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, vegetables and ready-to-eat foods, if possible
  • Use a clean plate to bring cooked meat in from the barbeque