Every year, thousands of Canadians get food poisoning (also known as foodborne illness or food-related illness). Since harmful contaminants can't be seen, smelled or tasted, it's important that you cook your food to a safe internal cooking temperature to avoid food poisoning. Protect your family by following some simple rules.
Using a food thermometer
Checking the temperature of your cooked meat, poultry, and seafood with a food thermometer is the only reliable way to make sure your food has reached a safe internal cooking temperature. Safe internal cooking temperatures vary for different types of foods, so it's important that you know what internal temperature your food needs to reach to be safe to eat.
While there are many types of food thermometers, digital food thermometers are considered the most accurate because they provide instant, exact temperature readings. They are reliable tools that you can use to make sure that your foods reach internal cooking temperatures high enough to eliminate harmful bacteria.
Here are a few tips to follow when checking to see if your food has reached the necessary safe internal cooking temperature:
- Remove your food from the heat and insert the digital food thermometer through the thickest part of the meat, all the way to the middle.
- Make sure that the thermometer is not touching any bones, since they heat up more quickly than the meat and could give you a false reading.
- If you have more than one piece of meat, poultry or seafood, be sure to check each piece separately, as temperatures may differ in each piece.
- For hamburgers, insert the digital food thermometer through the side of the patty, all the way to the middle. Oven-safe meat thermometers designed for testing whole poultry and roasts during cooking are not suitable for testing beef patties.
Internal cooking temperatures
You can't tell by looking
Help protect you and your family from foodborne illness. Use a digital food thermometer to ensure that raw meat, fish and poultry are cooked to a safe internal temperature!
Please print this handy Safe Internal Cooking Temperatures chart and post it on your fridge for quick reference!
|Meat, poultry, eggs and fish||Temperature|
|Beef, veal and lamb (pieces and whole cuts)|
|Well done||77°C (170°F)|
|Pork (for example, ham, pork loin, ribs)|
|Pork (pieces and whole cuts)||71°C (160°F)|
|Ground meat and meat mixtures (for example, burgers, sausages, meatballs, meatloaf, casseroles and mechanically tenderized beef)|
|Beef, veal (including mechanically tenderized), lamb and pork||71°C (160°F)|
|Poultry (for example, chicken, turkey)||74°C (165°F)|
|Poultry (for example, chicken, turkey, duck)|
|Egg dishes||74°C (165°F)|
|Shellfish (for example, shrimp, lobster, crab, scallops, clams, mussels and oysters) (Since it is difficult to use a food thermometer to check the temperature of shellfish, discard any that do not open when cooked. Learn more.)||74°C (165°F)|
|Others (for example, hot dogs, stuffing, leftovers)||74°C (165°F)|
|Chops, steaks and roasts (deer, elk, moose, caribou/reindeer, antelope and pronghorn)|
|Well done||74°C (165°F)|
|Ground meat and meat mixtures||74°C (165°F)|
|Ground venison and sausage||74°C (165°F)|
|Bear, bison, musk-ox, walrus, etc.||74°C (165°F)|
|Rabbit, muskrat, beaver, etc.||74°C (165°F)|
|Game birds/waterfowl (for example, wild turkey, duck, goose, partridge and pheasant)|
|Breasts and roasts||74°C (165°F)|
|Thighs, wings||74°C (165°F)|
|Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird)||74°C (165°F)|
|Meat, poultry and eggs|
|Fresh beef, veal, lamb, and pork||steaks||3-4 days||6-12 months|
|chops||3-4 days||4-6 months|
|roasts||3-5 days||4-12 months|
|Variety meats: tongue, liver, heart, and kidneys||1-2 days||3-4 months|
|Ham||cooked whole ham||7 days||1-2 months|
|cooked half ham||6-7 days||1-2 months|
|cooked slices||3-4 days||1-2 months|
|Hamburger and stew meat||1-2 days||2-4 months|
|Ground turkey, veal, pork, and lamb||1-2 days||3-4 months|
|Chicken and turkey||whole||1-2 days||1 year|
|pieces||1-2 days||6-9 months|
|Giblets (heart, liver, kidney and gizzard)||1-2 days||3-4 months|
|Hot dogs (Use by 'Best Before' date)||opened package||1 week||2 weeks|
|unopened package||2-3 months||2-3 months|
|Luncheon meat (Use by 'Best Before' date)||opened package||3- 5 days||1- 2 months|
|unopened package||2 weeks||1- 2 months|
|Bacon and sausages (Use by 'Best Before' date)||bacon||7 days||1 month|
|raw sausage (chicken, turkey, pork and beef)||1-2 days||2-3 months|
|Eggs||fresh raw||Use by 'Best Before' date||4 months (blended eggs)|
|fresh yolk & white||2 - 4 days||4 months|
|hard cooked eggs||1 week||Not recommended|
|Small game (for example rabbit, and squirrel)||1-2 days||6-12 month|
|Big game such as venison (for example deer, elk, moose, caribou/reindeer, antelope and pronghorn) and bison||2-4 days||6-12 months|
|Ground meat from game||1-2 days||2-3 months|
|Game stew, soup or casseroles||3-4 days||2-3 months|
|Opened canned game products (for example soup and stew)||3-4 days||2-3 months|
|Raw wild birds (for example, whole duck, pheasant, goose and ptarmigan)||1-2 days||3-6 months|
|Cooked duck or goose||3-4 days||2-3 months|
|Raw giblets||1-2 days||3-4 months|
|Cooked fish||1-2 days||4-6 months|
|Fatty fish: mullet, ocean and sea perch, char, sea trout, striped bass, salmon, mackerel, bluefish and tuna||2-3 days||2-3 month|
|Pollock, ocean perch and sea trout||2-3 days||4 months|
|Fresh lean fish: cod, flounder, haddock, halibut and perch||2-3 days||3-6 months|
|Smoked fish||Herring||3-4 days||2 months|
|Cold-smoked salmon and white fish||5-8 days||2 months|
|Hot-smoked salmon and white fish||14 days||6 months|
|Other smoked fish||1-2 weeks||4-5 weeks|
|Opened canned fish||1 day||Not recommended|
|Lobster||Cooked||1-2 days||6-12 months|
|Tails||1-2 days||6 months|
|Shrimp||Raw||1-2 days||6-12 months|
|Cooked||3-4 days||3 months|
|Crab||Cooked||3-5 days||2 months|
|Clams and mussels||De-shelled (shucked)||1-2 days||3-4 months|
|Scallops||De-shelled (shucked)||1-2 days||3-4 months|
|Live oysters||De-shelled (shucked)||1-2 days||3-4 months|
|Opened canned shellfish||1 day||Not recommended|
|Leftovers and prepared foods|
|Leftover cooked meat and poultry||meat and casseroles||3-4 days||2-3 months|
|gravy and meat broth||3-4 days||2-3 months|
|fried chicken||3-4 days||4 months|
|poultry casseroles||3-4 days||4-6 months|
|plain poultry pieces||3-4 days||4 months|
|pieces covered with broth or gravy||3-4 days||6 months|
|Prepared salads||macaroni salad and tuna salad||3-5 days||Not recommended
(does not freeze well)
|Cooked stuffing||3-4 days||1 month|
|Soups and stews (with meat or vegetables)||3-4 days||2-3 months|
Did you know?
Colour does not always tell you if your food is safe to eat. Always follow internal cooking temperatures to be safe!
Cleaning your hands, kitchen surfaces, and utensils will help eliminate bacteria and reduce the risk of food poisoning.
- Clean your digital food thermometer in warm, soapy water between every temperature reading to avoid spreading bacteria.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds.
- An alcohol-based hand rub can be used if soap and water are not available.
- You should always wash your hands before and after you touch raw meat, poultry, fish, and seafood, and after using the washroom, handling pets or changing diapers.
- If you've used a plate or utensils to handle raw food, don't use them again until you've washed them thoroughly in the dishwasher or in warm, soapy water.
- Use one cutting board for produce, and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, fish, and seafood.
- Use paper towels to wipe kitchen surfaces, or change dishcloths daily to avoid the risk of cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria. Avoid using sponges, as they are harder to keep bacteria-free.
- Sanitize countertops, cutting boards, and utensils before and after preparing food. Use a kitchen sanitizer (following the directions on the container) or a bleach solution (5 ml household bleach to 750 ml of water), and rinse with water.
It is important to keep cold food cold and hot food hot, so that your food never reaches the "temperature danger zone" where bacteria can grow quickly and cause food poisoning. Remember to follow safe food handling practices when you shop for, separate, clean, chill, store, and cook foods.
How the Government of Canada protects you
The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. Health Canada establishes regulations and standards relating to the safety and nutritional quality of foods sold in Canada. Through inspection and enforcement activities, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency verifies that food sold in Canada meets Health Canada's requirements.
For more information
- It's Your Health - Food and Nutrition
- Food safety tips for barbecuing
- Food poisoning
- Causes of food poisoning
- Food Safety Portal
- Be Food Safe
- Food safety tips (CFIA)
- Food safety (PHAC)
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