Food Safety

Food Safety Today

Consumers Today

Once the food is in your hands, it is up to you to make sure that it remains safe to eat. Your responsibility begins when you buy the food, and ends when all the leftovers are gone. Buy foods that are fresh and have not passed their best-before dates. Wash your hands and food-preparation surfaces often, keep foods safely stored and separated, and cook and chill the food properly.

Follow Four Rules

Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill

If you follow these four food-handling steps, you will reduce the risk of getting a food-borne illness caused by microbes.

1. Clean

Wash hands often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water.
Use a mild bleach and water solution to sanitize countertops, cutting boards, and utensils.

2. Separate

Use separate cutting boards: one for raw meats, poultry and seafood, and another for ready-to-eat and cooked foods. Keep foods
covered to avoid cross-contamination.

3. Cook

Keep hot foods hot: at or above 60°C (140°F).
Use a digital food thermometer to test internal temperatures.
Refer to a cooking temperature chart.

4. Chill

Refrigerate foods within two hours of cooking.
Use a refrigerator thermometer.
Keep cold food cold: at or below 4°C (39°F).

Producers Today

Professionals in the food industry handle the food you buy with care, using various technologies to minimize the risk of contamination. Packaging protects food from contamination and creates a barrier which helps to prevent spoilage. Some farms are bio‑controlled to avoid infection of their livestock — visitors must actually wear bio‑suits in areas housing animals.

The food industry has many ways of processing foods. For example, processors may pasteurize, preserve, irradiate, freeze, can, refrigerate, dehydrate, salt, or pickle foods before sending them to retailers.

Cheese Sampler, ca. 1940
Artifact no. 1979.0273

Before cheese was pressed into a mold, cheesemakers tested how the curd was forming. This tool was used to draw a sample of unripened cheese from the cheese vat.

Meat Inspection Hammer, ca. 1940
Ketchum Manufacturing, Ottawa, Ontario
Artifact no. 2000.0262

Meat inspectors must examine all animal carcasses at an abattoir to ensure that they are safe for human consumption. This hammer, with the inspector's 'signature' 241, was used to assign a grade to a side of beef.

Courtesy of the Ontario Farm Animal Council

Each farm uses government-regulated ear tags on cattle, so that the animal can be traced back to their farm if a food safety issue should arise in the future.

Archives of Ontario 87-B766

In Canada, cheese made from unpasteurized milk has to be aged for 60 days (until all the harmful bacteria die), and cannot be sold until then.

Archives of Ontario 89-B190

A government inspector examining lamb carcasses, 1989

Courtesy of the Ontario Farm Animal Council

Special clothing and restricted access are some of the measures used to keep farm animals free from contamination.

Archives of Ontario 87-B801

Sorting tomatoes at a Campbell's Soup Company factory,Toronto, Ontario 1987

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