Media Release

December 6, 2011

Be food safe this holiday season

The Regional Municipality of York offers tips to stay healthy over the holidays
NEWMARKET – Whether hosting a holiday meal or bringing food to friends and family, The Regional Municipality of York reminds residents to follow four simple steps of clean, separate, cook and chill to help eliminate harmful bacteria and reduce the risk of food-borne illness, also known as food poisoning.
Clean and Separate:
• Wash hands with soap and warm water for 15 to 20 seconds before and after handling food
• When handling food, use tongs, spoons and forks to minimize direct hand contact with the food
• Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and countertops with hot, soapy water before and after preparing each food item
• Wash fresh fruits and vegetables under cool water, including those with uneaten skins and rinds
• Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods in your grocery shopping cart and bags
• Store raw meat, poultry and seafood on the lowest refrigerator shelf to prevent juices from dripping onto other food
• Use one cutting board for ready-to-eat food and a separate one for raw meat
Cook and Chill:
• Use a probe food thermometer to check the internal temperature to ensure food has reached proper final cooking temperature – you can’t tell if food is cooked safely by how it looks
• Keep cooked food hot by maintaining it at a temperature of 60°C (140°F) or hotter until served
• Re-heat leftovers to 74°C (165°F) or hotter; bring gravy to a rolling boil and stir during re-heating
• Keep the refrigerator at 4°C (40°F) or below – use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature
• Thaw meat in the refrigerator, microwave or under cold running water – never thaw at room temperature
• Food thawed in the microwave should be cooked immediately after thawing
• Perishable food left out for more than two hours should be discarded
• Cool hot food properly by portioning it into shallow containers before storing in the refrigerator or freezer
• Refrigerate leftover food as soon as possible and use within 48 hours
More food safety tips for this Holiday Season:
• Prepare homemade eggnog with pasteurized egg products
• Serve only pasteurized ciders; if unavailable, bring unpasteurized ciders to a rolling boil before serving
• Transport hot food in an insulated container to maintain a minimum temperature of 60°C (140°F)
• Transport cold food in a cooler with ice or ice packs to keep the temperature at 4°C (40°F) or colder
• If hosting a potluck, encourage far-away guests to bring non-perishable items: bread, bottled beverages and fruit; food served hot or cold should be prepared at the host’s home or by a nearby guest
For more information on this or any other public health-related topic, please contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or TTY 1-866-252-9933. Additional information about the York Region Food Safety at Home campaign is available at
- 30 -
Media Contact: Lisa Sposito, Community and Health Services, York Region
 1-877-464-9675, ext. 4106 • After-Hours Cell: 289-716-0380 •

Founded in 1971, The Regional Municipality of York is made up of nine municipalities
and provides services to more than one million residents, 29,000 businesses and 495,000 employees.

 For more information visit us at Follow us on : York Region   @YorkRegionGovt  
Back to top