OTTAWA, Ontario – Canadians are being reminded by Health Canada (HC) to ensure their meat, poultry and seafood dishes reach safe internal cooking temperatures before serving by using a digital food thermometer. This is the only reliable way to ensure food has reached a safe internal cooking temperature, HC said.

Despite many different types of food thermometers currently available on the Canadian market, digital food thermometers are considered the most accurate because they provide instant and exact temperature readings, HC continued.

Looking for signs that food is cooked properly, such as the color of the meat and its juices, can't accurately confirm harmful bacteria have been eliminated from foods. Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria 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 each food needs to reach to be safe to eat.

The following indicates the safe internal cooking temperatures for common foods:

  • Beef, veal and lamb (pieces and whole cuts) – Medium rare, 145°F; medium, 160°F; well done, 170°F.
  • Pork (pieces and whole cuts) – 160°F.
  • Poultry (chicken, turkey and duck) – Pieces, 165°F; whole, 185°F.
  • Ground meat and meat mixtures (burgers, sausages, meatballs, meatloaf, casseroles) – Beef, veal, lamb and pork, 160°F; poultry, 165°F.
  • Egg dishes – 165° F.
  • Others (Hot dogs, stuffing, leftovers and seafood) – 165°F.

Each year it is estimated there are as many as 11 million cases of foodborne illnesses in Canada. HC says many of these illnesses could be prevented by following proper food handling and preparation steps.