The risk of foodborne illness increases during the summer when temperatures are warmer and people are more likely to be cooking outdoors. Harmful bacteria grow quickly in warm, moist conditions, so certain food safety measures should be taken. Here are some food safety tips that can help keep you and your family safe from foodborne illness.
Keep raw foods cold. This can be a challenge when you are outdoors, especially with raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Use a cooler to store your food. Use plenty of ice packs to make sure it is kept out of the temperature danger zone of 4°C to 60°C (40°F to 140°F).
Keep the cooler out of direct sunlight, and avoid opening it too often. If you use two separate coolers for food and drinks, the one with the food will not be opened as often, so it will stay cold longer.
On hot summer days, don't keep food unrefrigerated for more than two hours.
Remember: when in doubt, throw it out!
Make sure to keep your raw meat, poultry and seafood away from other foods so that you don't spread foodborne bacteria between foods. You can avoid cross-contamination by packing or wrapping meat, poultry and seafood separately or by using separate containers which will prevent leaks. If you are packing vegetables in the same cooler, always put meat, poultry and seafood at the bottom of the cooler to keep juices from dripping onto other foods.
Never put ready-to-eat or cooked food on the same plate that held raw meat, poultry or seafood. For cooking outdoors, consider taking along several sets of utensils, cutting boards, or plates. This can help prevent cross-contamination.
Make sure that your hands, plates and utensils are clean. This will help reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Follow the same washing instructions outdoors as you do at home. Bring soap and wash your hands with warm clean water for at least 20 seconds.
Bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria can be killed by heat. Raw meat, poultry and seafood must be cooked properly to a safe internal temperature (see chart below) to eliminate these bacteria.
|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)|
|Ground meat and meat mixtures (e.g. burgers, sausages, meatballs, meatloaf, casseroles)|
|Beef, veal, lamb and pork||71°C (160°F)|
|Egg dishes||74°C (165°F)|
|Others (e.g. hot dogs, stuffing, leftovers)||74°C (165°F)|
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 on food safety, please visit the Government of Canada's Food Safety Portal and the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education's Be Food Safe Canada program.