Consumers Encouraged to Use Digital Food Thermometers When Cooking

OTTAWA – Health Canada is reminding Canadians to make sure that their meat, poultry, fish and seafood dishes reach safe internal cooking temperatures before serving. The only reliable way to ensure that your food has reached a safe internal cooking temperature is by using a digital food thermometer.

Meat thermometer

Meat thermometer (Photo credit: Thom Watson)

Despite many different types of food thermometers currently available on the Canadian market, digital ones are considered the most accurate because they provide instant and exact temperature readings.

While we often look for other signs that our food is cooked properly (for example, the colour of the meat and its juices), these methods can’t accurately confirm that harmful bacteria have been eliminated from our foods. Bacteria, such as Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria, which can cause foodborne illness, can’t survive at certain high temperatures.  Safe internal cooking temperatures are different for different types of foods, so it’s important to know what internal temperature your food needs to reach to be safe to eat.

Some chicken, pork and corn in the barbeque

Image via Wikipedia

The following table indicates the safe internal cooking temperatures for common foods:

Beef, veal and lamb (pieces and whole cuts)
Medium rare     63°C (145°F)
Medium            71°C (160°F)
Well done        77°C (170°F)

Pork (pieces and whole cuts)
71°C (160°F)

Poultry (for example, chicken, turkey, duck)
Pieces             74°C (165°F)
Whole              85°C (185°F)

Ground meat and meat mixtures (for example, burgers, sausages, meatballs, meatloaf, casseroles)
Beef, veal, lamb and pork     71°C (160°F)
Poultry                                   74°C (165°F)

Egg dishes
74°C (165°F)

Others (for example, hot dogs, stuffing, leftovers, seafood)
74°C (165°F)
It is estimated that there are as many as 11 million cases of foodborne illnesses in Canada every year. Many of these cases could be prevented by following proper food handling and preparation steps.

More information about safe food preparation and digital food thermometers is available from:

Government of Canada’s Food Safety Tips for Using Digital Food Thermometers

Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education’s Be Food Safe Canada Campaign

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