Information update

Health Canada reminds Canadians of important summer food safety tips

Starting date:
August 20, 2019
Type of communication:
Information Update
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Food Safety
General Public
Identification number:

Last updated: 2019-08-20

August 20, 2019
For immediate release

OTTAWA – With summer well underway, it’s important to think about food safety. Cooking outside, being away from refrigeration and running water, and experiencing hot and humid weather can increase your risk of contracting a foodborne illness (sometimes called food poisoning).The most common symptoms of foodborne illness are stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. Groups at higher risk for serious health effects include pregnant women, children under the age of 5, adults over the age of 60, and people with weakened immune systems.

Use these simple guidelines for handling, cooking and serving your food safely:


  • Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood into plastic bags and away from other food in your grocery cart.
  • If you use reusable grocery bags or bins, wash them often.


  • Refrigerate cold foods, such as meat, meat alternatives, dairy products and egg-based side dishes immediately after returning from the grocery store. These and other perishable foods should be refrigerated within 2 hours.
  • Freeze ground beef that won't be used within 1 to 2 days.
  • Freeze raw poultry that won't be used within 2 to 3 days.
  • Other raw meats should be frozen according to Health Canada’s Safe food storage web page.

Preparing foods:

  • Wash your hands and utensils including cutting boards, countertops and knives carefully with soap and warm water before and after handling your food.
  • Use a separate cutting board for fruits and vegetables from the one ou regularly use for meats to avoid cross contamination.
  • Keep raw meat, poultry and seafood away from cooked food.
  • Don’t rinse poultry before cooking it because the bacteria can spread wherever the water splashes.
  • Marinate meat in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Don't use leftover marinade that has been in contact with raw meat on cooked food.
  • Defrost food in the refrigerator. Meat should be completely defrosted before cooking so that it cooks more evenly.


  • Use a digital thermometer to check the internal temperature of your meat to determine whether it’s fully cooked. Don’t simply rely on the colour of the meat. Consult Health Canada’s Safe cooking temperatures guide.
  • For mechanically tenderized steaks, in addition to reaching an internal temperature of 63°C, flip your steak at least twice while grilling.
  • Check the internal temperature of each piece separately.
  • Place cooked foods on a clean plate using clean utensils.

Side dishes and serving tips:

  • Keep cold food cold (including pre-cut and ready-to-eat produce) and hot food hot.
  • On hot summer days, don't keep food at room temperature for more than one hour.
  • Keep salads with creamy mayonnaise-based dressings in the fridge or cooler until ready to serve. If you’re making salads for get-togethers where refrigeration won’t be available, try using vinaigrette type dressings instead of mayonnaise-based dressings, which can spoil faster.
  • If you plan to travel, bring a portable cooler with ice packs to hold your perishables.

Clean up:

  • Use clean water and soap to wash all utensils, dinnerware, countertops and cutting boards thoroughly before and after use.
  • Sanitize cooking equipment, utensils and work surfaces with a kitchen cleaner or a mild bleach solution.
  • Rinse with fresh water and air dry.

For more information, please visit:

Media Inquiries:

Health Canada

(613) 957-2983

Public Inquiries:

(613) 957-2991

1-866 225-0709