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Kitchen Food Safety Tips
Preventing foodborne illness

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How safe is your kitchen?

Did you know that most foodborne illness results from poor food handling at home? Your kitchen could be a high risk environment. Bacteria can thrive in food that is improperly stored or handled. Reduce the risks by following these tips from Canada's food safety experts. Play it "food safe" in your kitchen!

Get off to a CLEAN start!

  • Handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of foodborne illness. Do you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after handling food? Wash again when you switch from one food to another.
  • Are your countertops and utensils clean and sanitized? Sanitizing reduces bacteria and can prevent foodborne illness.
  • It's important to thoroughly clean everything that comes in contact with your hands or your food! Don't forget about kitchen cloths . . . faucet handles . . . sink drains . . . garbage disposals . . . can opener blades . . . refrigerator handles . . . small appliances . . . utensils, and so on.


  • Combine 5 mL (1 tsp) of bleach with 750 mL (3 cups) of water in a labelled spray bottle.
  • After cleaning, spray sanitizer on the surface/utensil and let stand briefly.
  • Rinse with lots of clean water, and air dry (or use clean towels).

Eight quick tips for the kitchen (at home, work, school, etc.)

  1. Keep separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and seafood and a different one for ready-to-eat and cooked foods. Clean and sanitize cutting boards after each use. Plastic cutting boards can be easily cleaned in the dishwasher.
  2. Wash the lids of canned foods just before opening them to prevent dirt from getting into the food. Clean the can opener's blade after every use.
  3. Take small appliances apart (food processors, meat grinders and blenders) right after you use them, and clean and sanitize them thoroughly.
  4. Air dry dishes and utensils if you can, or dry them with clean kitchen towels. Wash and sanitize towels, sponges and cloths often to prevent bacteria from growing.
  5. Clean the pantry regularly, keeping food off the floor. Store food in sealed containers.
  6. Thoroughly wash and sanitize containers and utensils that were in contact with raw food before you reuse them.
  7. If you have an infection or cut on your hand, cover it with a bandage and then wear disposable gloves when preparing food. But remember: gloves pick up bacteria, too. Change gloves frequently and wash gloved hands as often as bare hands.
  8. Use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of your food. See table.

Internal Cooking Temperatures

You can’t tell by looking. Use a digital food thermometer to be sure!

Food Temperature
Beef, veal and lamb (pieces and whole cuts)  - medium-rare 63°C (145°F)
Beef, veal and lamb (pieces and whole cuts)  - medium 71°C (160°F)
Beef, veal and lamb (pieces and whole cuts)  - well done 77°C (170°F
Pork (pieces and whole cuts) 71°C (160°F)
Poultry (e.g. chicken, turkey, duck)  - pieces 74°C (165°F)
Poultry - whole 85°C (185°F)
Ground meat and meat mixtures (e.g. burgers, sausages, meatballs, meatloaf, casseroles)  - beef, veal, lamb and pork 71°C (160°F)
Ground meat and meat mixtures - poultry 74°C (165°F)
Egg dishes 74°C (165°F)
Others (hot dogs, stuffing and leftovers) 74°C (165°F)

Cold Facts

Fridge and Freezer Checklist

Refrigeration slows down most bacterial growth while freezing can stop the growth of most bacteria. (But remember: refrigeration and freezing won't kill bacteria. Only proper cooking will do that!)

  • Don't let bacteria get a foothold! After you shop, immediately put away food that needs to be refrigerated or frozen.
  • Check the temperature of your fridge and freezer. Are they cold enough?
    • Set refrigerators at or below 4°C (40°F). Use a refrigerator thermometer to check the temperature.
    • Keep freezers at or below -18°C (0°F). Use a freezer thermometer to check the temperature.
  • Don't overload your fridge and freezer. Cool air must circulate freely to keep food properly chilled.
  • Clean the refrigerator and freezer regularly.
  • Bacteria can be carried in raw meat juices. Place raw meat, poultry and seafood in containers on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Use containers that are large enough to prevent raw juices from dripping onto or touching other food.

Foodsafe tip: Freezing will NOT kill all bacteria that might have been in the food before it was frozen. Only cooking your food to a safe internal temperature will kill harmful bacteria.

Safeguarding Canada's Food Supply

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is the Government of Canada's science-based regulator for animal health, plant protection and, in partnership with Health Canada, food safety.

For more information on food safety or to order free copies of this brochure, visit the CFIA website at or call 1-800-442-2342/TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday to Friday). You can also find food safety information on the Health Canada and Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education websites respectively at and

Cat. no.: A104-11/2005E
ISBN: 0-662-41097-1