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Four steps to food safety during the holidays

16 December 2022

Public Service Announcement

Four steps to food safety during the holidays

This holiday season, the Department of Health reminds everyone to keep in mind the importance of proper food handling.

There are four easy steps to ensure you are handling food properly and safely:

1. Wash

  • Wash your hands with warm soapy water before and after handling food, touching pets, smoking or using the washroom.
  • Clean and sanitize cutting boards, countertops and utensils after each use.
  • Wash all fresh fruits and vegetables before preparing or serving.

2. Separate

  • Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and their juices separate from ready to eat foods.
  • If possible, use separate cutting boards for produce, meat, poultry and seafood. Make sure to clean cutting boards thoroughly with soap and hot water between uses.

3. Cook

  • Harmful germs can live on certain foods if they are not cooked properly.
  • Store-bought meat and poultry, egg dishes, casseroles and leftovers should always be cooked so that the internal temperature is high enough to kill germs.
  • Cook ground meat thoroughly until juices run clear.
  • Bring sauces, soups and gravies to a boil when reheating.

4. Chill

  • Don’t let food sit out or thaw at room temperature to prevent harmful germs from growing quickly.
  • Put foods that are likely to spoil in the refrigerator or freezer immediately after purchase.
  • Serve food right away and refrigerate or freeze perishable or prepared food, like takeout and leftovers, within two hours.

If you have more questions, please contact your environmental health officer, or visit


Media Contact :

Danarae Sommerville
Communications Specialist
Department of Health