Following Canada’s Food Guide and being informed about the nutrients in your foods will help you to provide a healthy diet for your family. Following some simple food safety tips is also important.
Washing your hands is the crucial first step in keeping food safe. Doing this properly, for 20 seconds, removes almost half of all causes of foodborne illness.
Always wash hands:
- before and after touching raw meat, poultry, fish or seafood
- after using the washroom
- after handling pets
- after sneezing.
Keep food chilled at 4 °C (40 °F) or lower. Cold temperatures prevent most harmful bacteria from growing and reduce the risk of food poisoning.
There are two key tips for keeping your food chilled.
- Follow the two-hour rule.
- Store meats at the right temperature for the right amount of time.
Under the “two-hour rule”, you should refrigerate or freeze all perishables (fresh food that can go bad) within two hours of buying or preparing them. If the weather is hot (warmer than 26 °C), chill or freeze the food within one hour. When you go grocery shopping, buy cold and frozen food last.
It is essential to chill meats promptly. The table below shows how long you can safely store different types of meat.
Note: Count the days listed in this table from the date the meat was ‘packaged on’ (as shown on the label) or the date it was bought if it is from a butcher.
|Ground meats, poultry, or seafood
|Variety meats (such as liver, kidney, heart)
|Stew meat, ribs, stir-fry strips, kabobs
|Chicken or turkey (whole or pieces)
||Whole – 12 months
Pieces – 6 months
|Steaks, roasts, chops
|Cooked meats or poultry, cold cuts (open package)
|Vacuum packed roasts or steaks (unopened)
||See package date
You can get many more tips from our article Food poisoning: protecting your family.