Cooking & Handling

Food Safety... At Home

Food safety is not as difficult as you might think. Follow these simple guidelines for keeping your meals safe and bacteria free.


Washing HandsWash Hands and Surfaces Often

  • Wash your hands and utensils with hot soapy water before and after poultry preparation
  • Use paper towels for wipe ups and drying

When Defrosting

  • The safest way to thaw poultry is in the refrigerator, allowing 6-9 hours/lb (14-20 hours/kg). Place it in its freezer wrapping on a tray or plate on the bottom shelf.
  • Poultry defrosted in the microwave should be cooked immediately.
  • When defrosting poultry in the microwave, remove the outside portion as they thaw because this helps keep the outside from starting to cook before the inside thaws.

Do NOT Cross-Contaminate

  • Make sure that juices and marinades from poultry do not drip onto other foods. Keep raw poultry separate from cooked meats or cold cuts in the refrigerator.
  • Prevent uncooked juices dripping onto other foods by placing on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.
  • Prevent cross-contamination by using separate cutting boards for meats, poultry, fruits and vegetables, and breads. Clean cutting boards in the dishwasher or scrub with hot water and detergent after each use.
  • Always marinade chicken in the fridge. Never save leftover marinade, throw it out.

Cook to Proper Temperatures

  • Cooked thawed meat and poultry just as you would fresh product. Cook until "done"; partial cooking may encourage bacterial growth. Oven temperatures should never be lower than 325°F. The best way to ensure chicken is done is to use a meat thermometer. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken should read 185°F.
  • The best way to judge doneness is to use a meat thermometer. Put the thermometer into the centre of roasts or poultry stuffing, or into the thickest part of the thigh for unstuffed birds. Stuffing should read 165°F (74°C) before serving. Rolled stuffed steaks and roasts should be cooked to well done.

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