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.
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.
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)
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)
Others (for example, hot dogs, stuffing, leftovers, seafood)
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
- Use The Right Tool For The Job (thechefstableblog.com)
- Safe Food Handling Tips (enfamil.com)