Cooking clean

Many of us enjoy preparing meals as a family, and it can be a great way to get the kids involved and learning to make healthier food choices. But while you’re cooking up a storm, be sure to practice essential food safety to protect everyone you’re feeding.

The first step is making sure the food you are serving is fully cooked. The only reliable way to make sure that meat, poultry, fish and seafood dishes reach safe internal cooking temperatures is to use a digital food thermometer.

We often look for other signs that food is cooked properly, like the colour of the meat and its juices or a change in texture. But these methods can’t accurately confirm that harmful bacteria have been killed.

Protect your family by following these food safety tips:

• Cook food completely, using a clean digital thermometer to measure the temperature. There are many different types of food thermometers currently available on the market, but digital ones are considered the most accurate because they provide instant and exact temperature readings.

• Remove your food from the heat and insert the digital food thermometer through the thickest part of the meat, all the way to the middle.

• Make sure that the thermometer is not touching any bones, since they heat up more quickly than the meat and could give a false reading.

• Follow the safe internal cooking temperatures chart to make sure that the food has been cooked to a safe internal temperature.

• If you are cooking or grilling pieces of meat, poultry, fish or seafood, make sure to check the internal temperature before serving because food can cook unevenly.

• For hamburgers, insert the digital food thermometer through the side of the patty, all the way to the middle. Oven-safe meat thermometers designed for testing whole poultry and roasts during cooking are not suitable for testing other foods. (NC)

Find more information and a complete chart of cooking temperatures at www.canada.ca/foodsafety.