The goal of Ottawa Public Health’s food safety program is to reduce the incidence of food poisoning in Ottawa by:
- Routinely inspecting food establishments to ensure their compliance with the Food Premises Regulation (R.R.O. 1990,Regulation 562)
- Offering food handler training
- Investigating complaints and reports of suspected food poisoning in food premises in Ottawa
- Providing information on home food safety
Ottawa Public Health is a proud member of the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education. If you have any questions, please call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744.
"Food poisoning" is a general term used to describe a food-borne illness that usually results from eating food or drinking water contaminated by disease-causing bacteria (germs) or their toxins (poisons).
What are the signs and symptoms of food poisoning?
Typical symptoms of food poisoning are:
- Stomach cramps
These symptoms may accompany fever, chills, loss of appetite, or headache.
Often people describe these symptoms as the "stomach flu." If you suffer from mild or severe symptoms, consult your physician and notify Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744.
Keeping foods safe
Kill or reduce the number of food poisoning bacteria in foods we prepare by:
Wash your hands especially after sneezing, smoking, coughing, using the washroom, touching pets, changing diapers, or touching raw meats or eggs. Wash them for at least 15 seconds with soap.
Remember that unwashed utensils, cutting boards, and hands can transfer bacteria from raw to cooked foods. A mixture of household bleach and water (approximately one capful of bleach to one cup of water) is a handy sanitizing solution.
Wash all vegetables and fruits, including those that you peel or cut, like melons, oranges and cucumbers.
Never use leftover marinade for basting or as a sauce unless you boil it first
Chicken and turkey
Turkey or chicken and dressing should be cooked separately. Whole cooked turkey or chicken should register an internal temperature of 82°C (180F) on a cooking thermometer for 15 seconds. Cook pieces/leftovers of turkey or chicken to an internal temperature of 74°C (165F) on a cooking thermometer for 15 seconds.
Fish must be cooked and register an internal temperature of 70°C (158F) on a cooking thermometer for 15 seconds.
Pork products, including ham and pork tourtiere must be cooked and register an internal temperature of 71°C (160F) on a cooking thermometer for 15 seconds.
Ground beef or hamburger meat
All ground beef must be thoroughly cooked to minimum internal temperature of 71°C. Do not rely on the colour of the meat or juices to determine if your hamburger is cooked. The only way you will know if your burger has reached the proper temperature is to use a probe thermometer. It must be placed into the thickest part of the meat. Never eat a hamburger that is pink in the middle.
Meats, eggs and dairy products should be kept at a maximum of 4°C (40 F). Keep cold foods cold – place an ice pack or a frozen drink in your lunch bag to ensure that food is kept cold until lunchtime.
Thaw foods in the refrigerator. Turkey or chicken should be thawed in the refrigerator and never at room temperature.
Double bag raw meat, when storing it in the bottom of your refrigerator or when bringing it home from the grocery store. Drippings from meat can contaminate other foods with food poisoning bacteria.
When barbequing, always use separate plates and utensils for the raw hamburgers and the cooked hamburgers.
Pasteurized milk and juices
Unpasteurized milk and juices can carry a number of disease-causing bacteria, so it’s recommended to only drink pasteurized products.
Raw egg products
Foods like eggnog, hollandaise sauce and Caesar salad dressing may contain raw eggs. Ottawa Public Health strongly recommends preparing these products fresh every day and using pasteurized eggs in these products.
Safe drinking water supply
Untreated water can carry a number of disease-causing bacteria. If access to safe drinking water is unavailable, be sure to bring it to a rolling boil for at least one minute before consumption.
What to do if you have a power blackout
Avoid opening the refrigerator door to keep its contents cold. Food in most freezers should remain frozen for 24 to 48 hours without power. If perishable food thaws in the freezer, it can be used safely as long as it stays cold. It is best to cook it within a day. Don't eat thawed, warm meat. In the winter, you can store all perishable food outside in protective containers in the snow.