Food and Drink
Keep you and your family safe from food related illness by preparing healthy meals. Safe food practices can prevent food-borne illness.
Four food safety rules
- Clean: wash hands and surfaces often
- Chill: refrigerate promptly
- Cook: cook to proper temperatures
- Separate: don't cross-contaminate
To learn more about keeping food safe from bacteria, visit Fight BAC!
Food & Outings
Eating well on outings
- Don't start a strenuous activity on an empty stomach.
- If the activity is longer than three hours, plan to bring along at least a snack.
- Bring foods that are easy to carry and provide plenty of energy, such as citrus fruits or carrot and turnip sticks.
- Don't forget something to drink, exercise causes the body to lose moisture. Fatigue can be a sign of dehydration.
Packing and eating a safe lunch
- Store your lunch in a cool area until mealtime; if refrigeration is not available, consider the next two tips.
- Use insulated containers or freeze water in empty leak-proof containers to keep lunches cold.
- Pack a box of juice that has been frozen overnight to both chill your lunch and become a part of the meal.
- Wash fruits and vegetables well before packing.
- Wipe lids of canned food if you are going to consume contents directly from cans.
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Food Safety Tips for Barbecuing Hamburgers
If you eat undercooked ground beef it may result in a type of food poisoning commonly referred to as hamburger disease (E. coli). You can minimize risks by handling and cooking raw ground beef properly. Health Canada's "Food Safety Tips for Barbecuing Hamburgers" is designed to help.
Get ready for the sizzle
- At the grocery store, pack raw meat separately from other products;
- Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling any raw food - especially meat, poultry and seafood;
- Use hot soapy water to clean all surfaces (refrigerators, counters, dishes, utensils, thermometers, etc.) that come in contact with raw meat;
- Make burger patties thin so that they cook all the way through;
- Do not let ready-to-eat foods like lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, etc... come into contact with raw meat or its juices; and
- Pre-heat the gas barbecue before cooking. If using a charcoal barbecue, use enough charcoal and wait until it is glowing red before starting to cook.
Are the burgers ready yet?
- Your beef burger is done when its internal temperature reaches 71°C (160°F);
- Colour alone is not a reliable indicator that a burger is safe to eat -- burgers can turn brown before all bacteria are killed;
- Reduce the heat or raise the height of the grill if food starts to burn during cooking -- remember it's the internal temperature of the patty that is important;
- Make sure all patties are ready! If you are cooking more than one, take the temperature in several of the thickest patties;
- Remove the patty from the grill and insert the thermometer through the side, all the way to the middle of the patty;
- Keep on cooking! Continue cooking your burgers if any reading is less than 71°C (160°F);
- Probe type food thermometers with digital read-outs work best for determining if your burger is done. Make sure all patties are ready! If you are cooking more than one, take the temperature in several of the thickest patties;
- Remember to wash the thermometer between temperature measurements;
- Oven-safe meat thermometers designed for testing whole poultry and roasts during cooking are not suitable for measuring the temperature of beef patties; and
- Use clean utensils and plates when removing cooked meats from the heat source.
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It's ready and there's some left over!
- Cover and store leftover cooked food in the refrigerator or cooler within 2 hours; and
- Reheat leftovers to 74°C (165°F).
Drinking water away from home
Drinking water directly from a water source in the great outdoors can make you ill. Ensure the water you drink is safe by following these precautions:
- Avoid drinking water from sources with visible signs of pollution.
- Disinfect all water taken from lakes, rivers, mountain streams and ponds no matter how clean it looks.
- Periodically clean and rinse water storage tanks and containers.
- Water treated with chlorine or iodine remains drinkable for several days without refrigeration, water treated by other means is best used within two days.
- Use only good drinking water for brushing teeth.
- Have cottage drinking water tested by a provincial or private laboratory if it is not municipally treated. It would be wise to disinfect surface water even if it passes these laboratory tests as not all pathogens can be detected.
- When in doubt, boil the water for 5 minutes.