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Is it necessary to wash bagged salad fixings?

Ready-to-eat leafy greens sold in sealed packages and labelled as washed, pre-washed or triple washed do not need to be washed again.

What can be sanitized with a bleach solution made of 750 mL (3 cups) of water and 5 mL (1 tsp) of bleach?

You can use a mild bleach solution to sanitize kitchen counters and cutting boards before and after handling foods. You can also use the solution to wipe down sinks, taps, faucets, refrigerator and cupboard handles, doorknobs and other kitchen surfaces.

What’s the best way to wash fruits and vegetables?

Whether they come from your garden, the market, or the store—fruits and vegetables should be washed just before serving. They should never be eaten without being washed. Wash produce under clean, potable, running water. Use a vegetable scrub brush on produce with a firm skin such as carrots, potatoes, melons and squash.
Always wash produce, such as squash, melons and oranges, even if you don’t eat the outer rind. Bacteria on the outer surface can be transferred to the fruit or vegetable flesh when the item is cut or peeled. Discard outer leaves of leafy vegetables and wash produce thoroughly under clean, potable, running water-making sure all dirt has been removed.

How can we remove chemicals such as pesticides that may be on fruits and vegetables?

In Canada, the use of pesticides is controlled by laws and regulations and farmers must conform to the instructions put on the label by the manufacturers as regulated by government authorities. There is always a lapse period of time before harvesting where the use of pesticides is prohibited allowing time for any residue to be depleted. Any residues that might remain must be under the MRL (minimal residual limit) established by the authorities to eliminate all health hazards. It is always recommended to wash fruits and vegetables with cold running tap water. The use of soap or any cleaning solutions promoting the elimination of those chemical residues should be avoided as they may leave residues themselves.

What would be the best method to clean kitchen counters?

If you want to use a commercial product to clean your kitchen counters, read the label to ensure that it has been made for and is safe for that use. However, hot, soapy water is a good way to wash counters.

Why shouldn’t we wash our fruits and vegetables with a cleaner when we wash our hands with soap?

There is a possibility that a cleaner used in cleaning fruits and vegetables could leave a residue on them. Washing fruits and vegetables under fresh running water could be as effective if not more than using cleaner.

What is the actual duration for soaking vegetables?

When vegetables are soaked they lose vitamins and minerals. So as a general rule, it should not be done. However, when cleaning leafy green or dense vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts they should be soaked in water for a few minutes to dislodge dirt then rinsed thoroughly under running water.

How do I keep grapes from getting moldy?

Mold develops because of moisture. Be sure the bag that you use for storing the grapes has some holes in it and do not wash the grapes until ready to use. Also clean and sanitize the produce drawer in which they are stored, you might need to clean and remove spores which may be present. Wash with hot soapy water, then with a mixture of 5 ml/1 tsp bleach mixed with 750 mL/3 cups water.

I cooked turkey and refrigerated and froze the leftovers on the same day. I thawed the cooked turkey and used it to make turkey potpies and refrigerated them. Can I freeze the pies that have been refrigerated overnight?

Pending that you have initially cooked your turkey at the right temperature and thawed the turkey meat in the refrigerator; it will be safe to freeze the refrigerated potpies.

Can I store frozen fish and frozen chicken in the same freezer?

Cooked or raw, frozen fish and frozen chicken can be put them in the same freezer as long as they are well wrapped on their own. Any raw meat or fish should not come in contact with cooked meat or fish.

Is it safe to combine raw meat, vegetables and sauce in the same zip lock bag then freeze, thaw then cook in a crockpot?

It will be safe to put all the ingredients in one bag and freeze them together as long as you follow the proper handling of the food as you are describing it in your request.

What is the safest way to handle chicken and vegetables at the same time?

Raw chicken is often the culprit of illness from salmonella. Always use a cutting board strictly for raw meat, and one for vegetables. Cut vegetables first and meat last. Cook the chicken first, without the vegetables. Make sure the internal temperature of the chicken pieces are 77ºC (170ºF) using a food thermometer to check doneness. Always wash your hands and working surfaces very well after handling raw meat and poultry. Add the vegetables to the cooked chicken.

Is it safe to cook raw hamburger that was seasoned with minced onion or stuffing mix and refrigerated overnight?

Mixing fresh chopped onions or seasonings with ground meat and storing overnight in the refrigerator does not pose a food safety risk.

Is it safe to eat chicken and beef that were handled with the same gloves when they were raw and then frozen?

Yes, there could have been some cross contamination between the raw beef and chicken. However, the meat and poultry will be safe to eat, if it is cooked to a safe internal temperature. These temperatures are listed in this handy chart.

Is it safe to bake raw hamburger with vegetables in the same dish?

Yes, it is safe to bake raw ground beef and vegetables in the same dish. Just be sure the food is cooked to a safe temperature by checking with a food thermometer inserted in the center. For ground beef or pork the thermometer should read 71ºC (160ºF), for ground chicken or turkey, it should read 80ºC (175ºF).

Can you use the same tongs on raw beef and raw chicken?

The only concern would be if you or someone you are cooking for is allergic to one but not the other. If you are using the tongs to transfer the raw meats to the barbecue or oven, it is fine to use the same tongs. However, when cooking these meats, it would be better to use separate tongs (utensils) as one meat may cook faster than the other. Wash the tongs with soap and hot water before you remove the cooked meats from their heat source so you don’t contaminate the cooked product with raw juices left on the tongs.

Can you grill raw chicken and raw meats together on a BBQ?

As long as the chicken and the other meats are cooked to the proper internal temperature for each kind of meat, you can cook them at the same time on a barbeque. Check out the handy chart for the recommended internal cooking temperatures. Be sure to wash tongs, thermometer stems or other barbecue tools after handling undercooked or raw meat/poultry, before using them to handle fully cooked meats/poultry.

What is the safest type of cutting board?

Cutting boards can be made of food-grade wood, hard plastic, glass, or marble. The important point is that cutting boards be washed with warm soapy water, rinsed and dried after every use. They can also be sanitized when needed with a mixture of 1 tsp (5 mL) bleach with 3 cups (750 mL) water. Once badly scratched, a wooden board can be sanded to remove the grooves and a plastic board should be replaced.

Can a turkey carcass be used to make turkey soup after a few days of it being stored in the fridge?

As long as you kept the turkey carcass under refrigeration you should not have any problem with the turkey. Cooked turkey will keep refrigerated for 3 to 4 days.

Is it safe to freeze my stuffed peppers after I cook them?

Your cooked stuffed peppers can be frozen without any problem. Make sure that you will thaw them in the refrigerator and heat them up well before serving.

Can thawed pre-cooked hamburgers be refrozen?

It depends. If there are ice crystals still present in the meat or the packaging, they can be refrozen. Otherwise, it is recommended to cook them fully and then freeze the cooked meat. Once thawed, partly cooked meat will keep in the refrigerator for two days.

If a freezer is off for a week and all food is thawed but still cold, is the food safe to refreeze or eat?

You would need to worry about toxins formed by bacteria in the thawed food. Toxins would not be destroyed by cooking and can cause foodborne illness. A freezer that has been unplugged will keep the food frozen for the first 24 hours. After that, there would be a gradual thawing. If there were no ice crystals present in the foods and if the foods were not kept at 4°C or less at all time, the foods should be thrown out.

Can meat or chicken be thawed in the microwave and be stored in the refrigerator over night?

Frozen meats and poultry that have been defrosted in the microwave need to be cooked immediately upon thawing. As defrosting in the microwave can result in uneven thawing and warm spots, bacteria have an opportunity to become active and multiply if not cooked immediately.

What is the safe internal cooking temperature that fresh sausages should be when cooked?

Fresh sausages made from ground beef or pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 71ºC (160ºF). Fresh sausages made from ground chicken or turkey should be cooked to an internal temperature of 74ºC (165ºF).

Is it safe to cook meat in an oven set at 175ºF for 8 hours?

No. When cooking meat, the oven temperature should be no lower than 250°F (120°C) to be safe. To ensure the food is cooked to a safe temperature, use a food thermometer. Foods cooked at too low a temperature for a long period of time may allow dangerous bacteria to grow, especially in home-ovens, where oven temperatures are not that accurate and can fluctuate over a wide range.

How hot do we need to heat a turkey pie?

A turkey pie should be heated until a food thermometer inserted in the centre of the pie registers 165ºF/74ºC.

Is it safe to eat canned mushrooms without cooking them?

Yes, commercial canning is done under pressure at high temperatures (242ºF or 116ºC). This not only cooks the mushrooms but also destroys harmful bacteria that may be present.

Is it safe to freeze leftover meat that was first frozen fresh, thawed and then cooked?

Once meat that has been frozen is thawed and cooked, the leftovers may be safely refrozen. But freeze the leftovers within 3 days of preparing. Package leftovers in single use portions so it does not have to be defrosted and refrozen again.

Is it safe to reheat cooked ground beef to pack in lunches that will be eaten 5 hours later?

No, warm meat held at room temperature for 5 hours would not be safe as at that temperature harmful bacteria may develop after two hours. So unless you put the hot meat in a warmed thermos container in a very well insulated bag, which will keep it hot until eaten, it would be better to pack the meat cold into an insulated lunch bag, along with freezer packs or a frozen juice box. Or refrigerate the lunch bag within 2 hours of packing it.
Cold meat could be reheated just before eating.

What type of eggs are safe to use when making recipes that use raw eggs such as a homemade mayonnaise and a tiramisu cake?

All raw eggs should be cooked before eating to make sure that harmful bacteria are eliminated. Pasteurized eggs are available to use in recipes where eggs are not cooked such as eggnog, mayonnaise, Caesar salad or tiramisu.

Is it safe to eat eggs that are lightly poached when the yolk is still completely liquid?

It is recommend by Health Canada that eggs should be cooked or poached until the yolk is firm to make sure that any harmful bacteria that could be present will be destroyed. The eggs should be cooked until they reach a temperature of 63ºC (145ºF) for the safest cooking temperature.

Is it safe to eat hot dogs without cooking them?

There is a possibility that hot dogs may be contaminated with the harmful bacteria Listeria after they are produced. This bacterium multiplies in the fridge and if eaten by those at risk for food borne illness such as children, it can make them very sick. Hot dogs should be cooked to an internal temperature of 74ºC (165ºF).

What is the best way to reheat leftovers in the microwave?

To destroy any bacteria, which may have been introduced since the last cooking, reheat leftovers quickly to 74ºC/165ºF, testing doneness with a food thermometer. Because microwave ovens sometimes reheat unevenly, rotate or stir the food partway through the heating.

When using homemade chicken broth from the freezer in a soup recipe, can I refreeze the left over soup?

If the soup has been brought to a full rolling boil to destroy any pathogens that may be present, and the leftover soup was cooled quickly, it can be refrozen.

What temperature should I cook guinea fowl to?

Guinea fowl can be cooked just as you would chicken, cooking whole fowl to an internal temperature of 85ºC (185ºF) as measured with a food thermometer in the thickest end of the breast.

When reheating a pasta dish what temperature should I set the oven and how long should I cook it for?

A casserole like pasta should be heated quickly to piping hot. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature has reached 74ºC (165ºF) to destroy any microbes that may have been introduced since cooking.

Is it safe to cover hot foods tightly right after you cook them?

If you are planning to store the food in the refrigerator or freezer, it should be cooled and refrigerated as quickly as possible to keep harmful bacteria from growing. So leave the food uncovered to allow the heat to escape more quickly. Cover when chilled.

How often should you replace your BBQ grill cleaning brush and where should it be stored?

A barbecue grill cleaning brush should be replaced as soon as it shows signs of wear. The bristles could break off or fall out on the grill and become lodged in the food. If the metal bristles are consumed they may cause serious injury. Store brushes away from chemical contaminants. There are no risks of bacterial contamination from old or not so clean grill cleaning brushes, as any bacteria transferred to the grill will be destroyed by the heat.

How do I tell if ham is precooked?

When in doubt about whether a ham is completely cooked or partially cooked, cook to 160ºF 71ºC (160ºF), checking the temperature with a food thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding touching the bone.

How long is it safe to eat the rice that remains in the cooker on the warm setting of the steamer?

The safety depends on the temperature of the rice when your cooker is on the warm setting. To be safe, the rice should be warmer than 60ºC (140ºF) to prevent harmful bacteria from growing. Test the temperature with a food thermometer. If you cannot maintain that high temperature, the rice should be refrigerated within two hours from its cooking. To be sure all the rice is at a safe temperature, it should be stirred often.

Is it safe to cook ground meat in a slow cooker?

Yes, ensuring the ground meat is heated to a safe cooked temperature: for beef and pork, cook to 71ºC (160ºF), for ground chicken or turkey, cook to 80ºC (175ºF). Measure cooked temperature with a food thermometer. Browning the meat before putting it in the slow cooker enhances the flavour and colour.

What is the best way to reheat cooked hamburgers?

Cook ground beef patties to an internal temperature of 71ºC (160ºF), testing each patty with a digital instant read thermometer inserted sideways into each patty. Refrigerate cooked burgers promptly and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen cooked burgers in the refrigerator before reheating. To reheat cooked burgers, warm through on the top rack of the barbecue grill over medium heat, in closed barbecue, turning often. Reheat the cooked burgers to an internal temperature of 74ºC (165ºF). For complete information for preparing and cooking ground beef patties, go to www.beefinfo.org.

How long is it safe to hold a hot pasta meat sauce in a slow cooker before serving?

Once cooked, the sauce should not be kept hot for longer than two hours.

What’s the best way to re-heat ham without having it come out dry?

Cooked ham can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Reheat sealed in a foil packet with a splash of water in the packet, in the oven, heating to a temperature of 165ºF (74ºC).

Can we freeze a stuffed roast that has been cooked?

A stuffed roast, which has been cooked to a safe temperature of 71ºC (160ºF), can be safely frozen. However, it should be chilled quickly before freezing – the best way to do this would be to slice it and spread on a tray or in a shallow pan, refrigerate promptly. Once cold, wrap well and freeze for up to 3 months.

Is it safe to freeze a sauce that contained the previously frozen chicken stock?

If your chicken stock cubes were thawed directly in the refrigerator or added frozen and cooked in the sauce that was cooked subsequently cooked, then, yes, it will be safe to freeze your sauce that contained the previously frozen chicken stock. Ensure that the sauce is cooled down rapidly and put in the freezer promptly.

Is it safe to eat cooked lasagna that has been made with a spaghetti sauce that was left out at room temperature for 6 hours before being made into the lasagna?

If spaghetti sauce has been left at room temperature for longer than two hours, it should be discarded not used in lasagna because it may be contaminated with harmful bacteria and spores which may be heat resistant.

Is it safe to stuff beef, veal, lamb or poultry and refrigerate overnight before cooking the next day?

No, it is not safe to stuff any meat or poultry in advance of cooking. The stuffing components can be made in advance, refrigerating the wet and dry ingredients separately. Combine the stuffing ingredients and stuff the roasts or whole turkey/chicken just before cooking. Cook stuffing to a final internal temperature of 160ºF (71ºC).

How long should I cook my eggs over medium?

For the best instructions on cooking eggs, check out the website of the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency. www.canadaegg.ca

Is it safe to cook meats in a rice cooker?

Check the instructions for your rice cooker – this appliance was not designed for cooking meat safely so it is not likely recommended. Use a slow cooker instead.

Is cooking with a slow-cooker safe?

The slow cooker cooks foods slowly at a low, safe temperature – generally between 170ºF and 280ºF. The direct heat from the pot, lengthy cooking and steam created within the tightly-covered container combine to destroy harmful bacteria and make the slow cooker a safe process for cooking foods.

Can I use frozen ground beef to make lasagna and store in the refrigerator to reheat the next day?

Yes, you can refrigerate the leftover lasagna and reheat it the next day. In fact lasagna often tastes better the second day! The key is to ensure that your lasagna has been thoroughly cooked in the first place. Use a food thermometer to make sure the internal temperature at the center of the lasagna has reached 160ºF (71ºC). Make sure the leftovers are refrigerated as soon as possible – don’t let the lasagna sit at room temperature for more than two hours. You can store the leftovers for 3 to 4 days in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer. Reheat leftovers to 165ºF (74ºC).

Can I reheat cooked meatballs in a soup?

Cooked meatballs can be kept refrigerated in a soup for up to 3 to 4 days. Only re-heat leftovers once. Once thawed, you should not refreeze again. Frozen meatballs can be kept for up to 3 months.

Can I re-heat cooked pasta?

Pasta can be cooked ahead and refrigerated or frozen. It should be slightly under done and then put into boiling water, just long enough to heat through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Can we cook meat in the microwave?

Yes, meat can be cooked in a microwave oven however, you will find that it does not brown as nicely as it would in a conventional oven and it will not cook as evenly as a regular oven. Follow the cooking recommendations suggested in your microwave manual for microwave cooking meat. As always, to ensure the meat is cooked to proper safe temperature, check the final internal temperature with a food thermometer to ensure that it is thoroughly cooked.

What temperature should you reheat spaghetti with meat after it has been stored in the refrigerator?

Leftovers should be reheated to a temperature of 165ºF (74ºC).

Is it safe to refrigerate cooked stuffed chicken breasts and safely reheat them to eat?

If they were refrigerated promptly after cooking and kept covered in the refrigerator, cooked stuffed chicken breasts can be safely stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. It is also important to ensure that your foods were not allowed to sit at room temperature for more than two hours. You can reheat the chicken breasts in the oven or microwave – re-heating to an internal temperature of 165ºF (74ºC). Check the internal temperature with a food thermometer.

Are chicken legs showing a little pink safe to eat?

The colour of cooked chicken or any cooked meat is not an indication of doneness. The only way to be sure poultry and meats are cooked to a temperature high enough to destroy harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer. Insert thermometer probe in the thickest part of the food to a depth of 1 1/2 inches (4 cm). For chicken pieces the thermometer should read 170ºF (77ºC).

What is the best way to cook canned foods?

Canned foods are already cooked, but they should be brought to a boil before serving. Heat them gently on the stove-to in a saucepan, stirring occasionally. They can also be reheated at Medium power in the microwave by transferring contents into a microwave-safe bowl and cover loosely with paper towel before microwaving. Stop and stir occasionally while microwaving.

Can you cook meat or poultry that is partially frozen?

You can cook partially frozen meat but it is recommended that you thaw the meat first in the refrigerator prior to cooking for best results and reduced risk of improper cooking. The risk of cooking frozen meat is that the middle part of the meat might not be cooked thoroughly. You should use a food thermometer to measure the temperature of the meat at its thickest point to make sure that it will be cooked according to final safe temperatures. It will take about 50% longer to cook meat from frozen.

How do I can homemade tomato sauce in Mason jars that will be stored at room temperature?

If your tomato sauce does not contain meat, the filled jars can be processed in a boiling water canner counting the time after the water returns to a boil. Process 500 mL jars 35 minutes, 1 L jars 40 minutes and 1.5 L jars 50 minutes. If the sauce contains meat, the filled jars should be processed in a pressure canner. In a weighted gauge pressure canner at 1,000 ft (305 m) process 500 mL jars 60 minutes, 1 L jars – 70 minutes at 10 lb. (69 kPa).
For more detailed information on home canning see Health Canada’s site and Bernardin Canada.

How do I reheat meat that has been frozen after the initial cooking without it becoming dry or tough?

Thaw your cooked meat, covered, in the refrigerator. If reheating in the oven, cover with foil and add a bit of gravy or broth to keep the meat moist. The meat can also be thawed and reheated at low power levels and covered with paper towel, in the microwave, eating promptly after reheating. Reheat all leftovers to a safe internal temperature of 165ºF (74ºC).

Should hot foods be left out to cool down before putting them in the refrigerator?

You do not need to cool hot foods before you put them into the fridge. Very hot food can be left out for 30 minutes before refrigerating. The key is to cool hot food quickly to prevent bacteria growth. Bacteria grow very well in the temperature range of 4ºC to 60ºF. Food should be cooled to 4ºC or lower as quickly as possible. To help foods cool down quickly, transfer into shallow containers and stir occasionally to speed-up cooling. Do not “stuff” or overcrowd your fridge. You need to allow cool air to circulate around food in the refrigerator.

What food temperature promotes the growth of bacteria?

In general, the ‘danger zone’ as it is called is when foods are held at temperatures between 4ºC (40ºF) and 60ºC (140ºF). It is risky to hold foods between these temperatures, with peak bacterial growth happening at around 35ºC (95ºF). Bacteria thrive in warmer temperatures and can grow rapidly at room temperature as well. Perishable foods left out of the refrigerator will spoil faster than if they were refrigerated.

How long will cooked meats last in the refrigerator?

Cooked meat will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days. It should be reheated thoroughly, to an internal temperature of 164ºF (74ºC).

Is it safe to reheat a cooked chicken?

It is safe to reheat a cooked chicken if the chicken was entirely cooked and kept under proper conditions of refrigeration or freezing (see storage charts). Reheat cooked chicken to 164ºF (74ºC) and eat promptly.

Can I refrigerated and reheated macaroni & cheese that was held at a temperature of 150ºF for 3 hours?

Holding the Mac and cheese casserole at the temperature of 150 ºF is a safe temperature but three hours is a long time and the casserole may have been overcooked. If cooled right away in the refrigerator, you could store the casserole for up to 3 to 4 days.

Can I thaw meat spaghetti sauce or chicken broth directly from the freezer on the stove?

Yes, you can heat spaghetti sauce and broth directly from frozen. Heat the sauce from frozen in a heavy saucepan over low to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, with the lid on. Heat the sauce to at least 164ºF (74ºC), testing the temperature with a food thermometer inserted into the middle of the sauce, careful not to touch the bottom or sides of the saucepan. Once hot, eat promptly.

What would cause cabbage rolls to turn black when cooked?

A variety of factors can cause cabbage to turn black. Fruits and vegetables have natural colour pigments – these pigments can react to a variety of factors such as acidity in tomato sauce, heat, copper or aluminum cookware and/or utensils. Also fruits and vegetables can have lower-level pigments that only show up after cooking. For example, green cabbage can turn a very dark purple/black. In some incidences cabbage can also turn pink. If the cabbage you froze was fresh and in good condition prior to blanching and freezing your cabbage rolls are safe to eat. If the cabbage was stored in your refrigerator for longer than 2 weeks prior to blanching and freezing, discard the cabbage rolls. Old cabbage can turn dark brown/rusty.

When I make pork tenderloin, I wrap it in bacon. The bacon makes the pork a pink color once it is cooked. Is this safe to eat?

Yes, it is okay. The ingredients used in the production of the bacon are causing the pork tenderloin to turn pink. To know when the tenderloin is cooked to a safe temperature, check the internal temperature with a food thermometer. Pork tenderloin is safely cooked when the thermometer reads 160ºF (71ºC).

Is soup made from chicken or turkey leftovers safe to reheat?

Yes, soup made with leftover chicken or turkey can be safely reheated. It is important to ensure that the cooked chicken or turkey was handled correctly prior to using it to make the soup. Cooked chicken or turkey should be refrigerated or frozen within 2 hours (not left at room temperature for more than 2 hours). Once the soup has been prepared it should be cooled quickly and refrigerated for up to 3 to 4 days or frozen for up to 2 to 3 months. Re-heat soup quickly, heating it to an internal temperature of 164ºF (74ºC). Only reheat once, so reheat just what will be consumed at one meal. It is not a safe practice to reheat soup more than once.

How long is a prepared bottle of baby formula safe to be left sitting at room temperature? Is it safe to refrigerate and reheat baby formula?

Once baby formula is prepared, keep refrigerated and use within the indicated storage time; usually 24 to 48 hours. Heat the formula only once; do not reheat. Unused formula must be discarded. Once the baby has drunk from the bottle there is an increased chance for bacterial growth in the formula. For detailed information on bottle-feeding, contact your local public health authority. Infants, young children, the elderly, pregnant women and those will immune compromised health conditions are at the greatest risk of developing serious illness from foodborne illness.

If you freeze cook ground beef patties then heat/cook, is it safe to re-heat ones that didn’t get eaten the next day?

No, that is not safe. Reheat only enough patties for that day and leave the rest frozen. Reheating cooked foods multiple times, allows bacteria time to multiply each time it is cooled and stored.

When using frozen homemade chicken stock, can I add it frozen to the soup I am making, or do I need to thaw it in the fridge first?

Yes, you can add the frozen stock to the pot – add thaw over low to medium-low heat, with the lid on, stirring occasionally. The best practice would be to thaw the stock in the refrigerator and reheat it to a piping hot temperature of 74ºC (165ºF). Once cooked, the soup can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. You can freeze it for longer storage and use within 2 to 3 months. Freeze in individual or meal size servings. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat only once to a piping hot temperature of 74ºC (165ºF).

Can I cook frozen chicken legs without defrosting?

When chicken legs are cooked without defrosting, they may cook unevenly. The outside will be cooked and the center may be just defrosting. Best to thaw them covered, in the refrigerator or in the microwave on the lowest power setting or the defrost setting. Once thawed in the microwave, cook the drumsticks as soon as possible.

Is pizza best cooked from frozen or should I defrost it first?

Pizza purchased from your grocery store has specific instructions for proper heating. Unless otherwise stated, for food safety, the pizza should be cooked from a frozen state.

What’s the lowest temperature hot food can be kept at?

When holding hot food in a chaffing dish or on a steam table, for example, it is important that the internal temperature remain above 60ºC (140ºF).

How do I cook quiche to a safe doneness?

To ensure correct doneness insert a food thermometer in the centre to ensure a temperature of 160ºF (71ºC) is reached. Refer to the Handy Charts for safe cooked temperatures of foods, storage information and more.

I have a 20-pound turkey I would like to cook slowly. What is the lowest possible temperature it can be cooked at, and for how long?

The lowest recommended temperature for roasting turkey is 160ºC (325ºF). Cooking at a lower temperature permits the multiplication of bacteria. A 10 kg (20 lb.) turkey unstuffed will take approximately 3 ½ to 4 hours, a stuffed turkey 4 to 4 ½ hours. To ensure correct doneness it is important to take an internal cooked temperature. Refer to the Handy Charts for safe cooked temperatures of foods, storage information and more.

Is it safe to store raw meat with vegetables and marinade in the same zip lock bag and freeze or store in the refrigerator before cooking?

It will be safe to put all the ingredients in one bag and freeze them together as long as you follow the proper handling of the food as you are describing it in your request.

Do you need to wash your hands after handling frozen meats and chicken?

Freezing does not destroy bacteria on food; it just stops their growth. You should ABSOLUTELY wash your hands after handling raw or partially cooked meat and poultry, whether fresh or frozen. It is the best practice to wash your hands well each time before you start to handle foods, switch between handling different foods and after handling foods, whether raw, frozen or cooked.

How do I avoid salmonella when cooking chicken and vegetables?

Raw chicken is often the culprit of illness from salmonella. Always use a cutting board strictly for raw meat, and one for vegetables. Cut vegetables first and meat last. Cook the chicken first, without the vegetables. Make sure the internal temperature of the chicken pieces is 77ºC (170ºF) using a food thermometer to check doneness. Always wash your hands and working surfaces very well after handling raw meat and poultry. Add the vegetables to the cooked chicken.

Is it safe to mix raw meat such as hamburger with seasonings or stuffing mix and then refrigerate it overnight?

Mixing seasonings with ground meat and storing overnight in the refrigerator does not pose a food safety risk. However, follow these steps to ensure that the raw ground meat mixture stays safe while refrigerated:

  • Wash hands and countertops well with hot soapy water before and after handling the raw meat.
  • As raw ground meats spoil quickly, be sure it is purchased fresh and stored refrigerated. Raw ground beef needs to be cooked within 24 hours from the Packaged on Date or by the Best Before Date on pack.
  • Handle the ground meat mixture as little as possible and keep the mixture well chilled until ready to cook.
  • Using an instant read food thermometer, cook the ground beef or pork to a safe internal temperature of 71ºC (160ºF) or 80ºC (175ºF) for ground chicken or turkey.
  • Can raw beef and chicken be handled with the same gloves on?

    Yes, there could have been some cross contamination between the raw beef and chicken. However, the meat and poultry will be safe to eat, if it is cooked to a safe internal temperature. These temperatures are listed in this handy temperature chart.

    Is it safe to bake raw meat such as hamburger with vegetables in the same dish?

    Yes, it is safe to bake raw ground beef and vegetables in the same dish. Just be sure the food is cooked to a safe temperature by checking with a food thermometer inserted in the center. For ground beef or pork, the thermometer should read 71ºC (160ºF), for ground chicken or turkey; it should read 80ºC (175ºF).

    Can raw chicken and raw beef touch each other prior to cooking? Can you use the same tongs on raw beef and raw chicken?

    The only concern would be if you or someone you are cooking for is allergic to one but not the other. If you are using the tongs to transfer the raw meats to the barbecue or oven, it is fine to use the same tongs. However, when cooking these meats, it would be better to use separate tongs (utensils) as one meat may cook faster than the other. Wash the tongs with soap and hot water before you remove the cooked meats from their heat source so you don’t contaminate the cooked product with raw juices left on the tongs.

    How long can I keep prepared marinade in the refrigerator or freezer?

    If the marinade that you have in surplus has not been in contact with any meat, it should keep safely in the refrigerator for at least a week. As for freezing it, it will depend on the ingredients. It is possible that you can freeze it but you will have to mix it well after it has been thawed in the refrigerator prior to be used. If the marinade has come in contact with the raw meat then it needs to be discarded.

    If I marinate pork fillets for 24 hours in the refrigerator and cook them in the oven, can I use this marinade as a sauce?

    If the marinade is cooked in the oven with the fillets it can be used as a sauce as long as it is properly cooked at the right temperature – pork fillets should be cooked to 71C (160F). Marinades that come in contact with raw meat need to be brought to a full boil before using as a basting or dipping sauce.

    How long can marinated chicken thighs be stored in the fridge before I cook them?

    The fact that the food is marinated does not extend its shelf life. Chicken parts keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

    I thawed out marinated meat in the fridge and cooked it three days later. Is it safe to eat?

    Your marinated tri-tip if thawed in the refrigerator at all time, should be safe to eat. Once thawed, your piece of beef should keep for three to four days. However if the marinated beef was thawed at room temperature before putting it back in the refrigerator, it might not be safe to eat.

    How long can I keep marinated Steaks in the refrigerator before eating them?

    Steak will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days. Marinating the meat does not extend the shelf life of the meat.

    Does marinade help keep poultry, meat or fish fresher longer?

    The marinade will not make poultry, meat or fish fresher or safer to eat.

    Can I use salmon for sushi if it has been in the refrigerator for one day?

    As long as you bought your salmon from a reliable source and that you kept it refrigerated at all times.

    How long can I keep raw meat in the refrigerator?

    Roasts can be refrigerated 3 to 4 days, chops and steaks 2 to 3 days. Ground meats may be refrigerated 1 to 2 days.

    How long can I store marinated meats in the freezer?

    Marinating does not extend the length of time meat can be stored in the freezer. Beefsteaks and roasts can be stored for 10 -12 months. Pork and lamb chops and roasts can be stored in the freezer for 8-12 months.

    How long will marinated salmon steaks last in the refrigerator before cooking?

    Marinated salmon steaks that have been refrigerated for three days would be safe to cook and eat, but the texture of the fish may be quite soft.

    Can I re-use the brine?

    It is not recommended to keep used brine to marinate other foods even if that food is the same nature of the original one. The brine would have been in contact with raw meat leaching harmful bacteria in it and those bacteria would spread to other meats if used again. That is what we call cross-contamination and it should be avoid by any means. Once used, throw it out and prepare fresh one all the time.

    Can you put raw chicken, beef, and pork in the same container to marinate together?

    Yes, raw chicken, beef and pork can be marinated together. However, remember that you will need to cook them each to their final safe internal temperatures.

    How long can you safely marinate London Broil?

    Beef may be marinated in the refrigerated for as long as 3 to 4 days. But it’s recommended that it be marinated be no longer than one day. After that, the meat will lose quality.

    How long can I keep marinated pork cutlets in the refrigerator before eating them?

    For best quality, pork cutlets should only be marinated overnight. But they can be left as long as three to four days.

    Can you freeze your meat and marinades together in the freezer?

    Yes, you can put your meat or poultry into a marinade before freezing. But be sure the marinade is cold. Then the food marinates while the food is defrosting in the fridge. Cook within 48 hours of defrosting.

    Can you freeze used marinade?

    Marinades should be discarded after use because they may contain harmful bacteria.

    Can I baste poultry, meat or fish with the raw juice/marinade mixture?

    No, the meat and poultry would certainly pose a high risk of foodborne illness. A used marinade has to be discarded or boiled for 1 minute before using as a basting or dipping sauce. Used marinade has the risk of being contaminated with harmful bacteria from the raw meat juices. Bringing it to a full rolling boil for at least a minute would destroy any harmful bacteria that may be present.

    If using the marinade from meat or poultry to make gravy, what would be the cooking time and temperature suggested to avoid contamination?

    Ideally, if you want to use some marinade to make gravy, set a portion of it aside before it comes in contact with any raw meat. In this way, it would not have been contaminated with the juices from the meat. Or, if you do use the marinade that has been on the meat, bring it a full rolling boil, for one minute and then make your gravy. Always marinate meat or poultry in the refrigerator or freezer.

    Can I use the uncooked marinade to dip the meat in?

    You cannot save or reuse marinades used for raw poultry, meat or fish. Discard it or bring it to a boil for 1 minute before using it for basting or dipping.