You can reduce the chance of food borne illness in your home by following these simple food safety tips.

  • Approximately one third of Canadians experience food borne illness (food poisoning) every year.
  • For young children, food poisoning can be very dangerous.
  • Only 20 per cent of Lower Mainland residents use a fridge thermometer.

Symptoms of food borne illness can include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. You may have experienced a food borne illness without even knowing it. For more information, visit the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

Know the temperature of your food

An easy way to reduce your chance of getting sick with a food borne illness is to refrigerate fresh and perishable foods at 4°C (40°F) or lower, and to cook foods to a safe internal temperature. Most harmful bacteria that cause food poisoning cannot grow at this temperature or below. Though most people use touch to see if their food is cold, this is not an accurate measure. Use a fridge thermometer.

A fridge thermometer is easy to use. Pick one up at your local cookware or hardware store (they are usually under $10). Make sure to read the instructions before use.

Do not over stuff your fridge. Allow for cool air to circulate around food. This will increase the longevity of your fridge and saves energy.

You can't tell if meat is cooked by its colour

You can't tell if meat, such as hamburger or chicken, is cooked by the colour of the meat. The best way to know if meat is cooked it to use a digital thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the food. Using a digital food thermometer will help prevent food poisoning by making sure you don’t undercook your meat.

Remember 75°C/165°F. This temperature has been tested to kill more than 99.9 per cent of harmful bacteria.

Be food safe

You can reduce the chance of food borne illness in your home by following these simple steps:

  • Clean: Wash your hands and surfaces often with warm, soapy water.
  • Separate: Make sure to always separate your raw foods, such as meat and eggs, from cooked foods and vegetables to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Cook: Always cook food to the safe internal temperatures. You can check this by using a digital food thermometer.
  • Chill: Always refrigerate food and leftovers promptly at 4°C or below.

Watch this two minute video that demonstrates these four safe food handling practices for the home cook.