Food safety is about how food is handled and stored to prevent food poisoning or other food-related illness. Approximately 11 to 13 million cases of food poisoning occur in Canada each year, so it is important to understand safe food handling practices to prevent food poisoning at the grocery store, in your kitchen, in your fridge, cupboards and freezer, and at the table.
Symptoms of food poisoning may include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. There is no such thing as the 24-hour flu. You may have had food poisoning without even knowing it.
You can reduce the chance of food poisoning in your home by following these four steps:
Clean: Wash your hands and surfaces often with warm, soapy water to avoid the spread of bacteria. Encourage children to develop good habits around hand washing early so it becomes something they just do before every time they eat.
Separate: Keep raw foods, such as meat and eggs, from cooked foods and vegetables. Use different cutting boards and knives to avoid contaminating other food.
Cook: Measure the internal temperature of food while you are cooking and make sure it reached a safe temperature before eating it. You can check this by using a digital food thermometer and make sure all the food you prepare with chicken is at an internal temperature of at least 74°C/165°F.
Chill: Refrigerate foods within two hours after cooking at 4°C or below. Do not put food that has been sitting out for a long period of time back in the fridge because bacteria will have started to grow.