Safe internal cooking temperatures

Every year, thousands of Canadians get food poisoning (also known as foodborne illness or food-related illness). Since harmful contaminants can't be seen, smelled or tasted, it's important that you cook your food to a safe internal cooking temperature to avoid food poisoning. Protect your family by following some simple rules.

Using a food thermometer

Checking the temperature of your cooked meat, poultry, and seafood with a food thermometer is the only reliable way to make sure your food has reached a safe internal cooking temperature. Safe internal cooking temperatures vary for different types of foods, so it's important that you know what internal temperature your food needs to reach to be safe to eat.

While there are many types of food thermometers, digital food thermometers are considered the most accurate because they provide instant, exact temperature readings. They are reliable tools that you can use to make sure that your foods reach internal cooking temperatures high enough to eliminate harmful bacteria.

Here are a few tips to follow when checking to see if your food has reached the necessary safe internal cooking temperature:

  • 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 you a false reading.
  • If you have more than one piece of meat, poultry or seafood, be sure to check each piece separately, as temperatures may differ in each piece.
  • 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 beef patties.

Internal cooking temperatures

You can't tell by looking

Help protect you and your family from foodborne illness. Use a digital food thermometer to ensure that raw meat, fish and poultry are cooked to a safe internal temperature!

Please print this handy Safe Internal Cooking Temperatures chart and post it on your fridge for quick reference!

Safe Internal Cooking Temperatures chart
Meat, poultry, eggs and fish Temperature
Beef, veal and lamb (pieces and whole cuts)
Medium-rare 63°C (145°F)
Medium 71°C (160°F)
Well done 77°C (170°F)
Mechanically tenderized beef (solid cut)
Beef, veal 63°C (145°F)
Steak (turn over at least twice during cooking) 63°C (145°F)
Pork (for example, ham, pork loin, ribs)
Pork (pieces and whole cuts) 71°C (160°F)
Ground meat and meat mixtures (for example, burgers, sausages, meatballs, meatloaf and casseroles)
Beef, veal, lamb and pork 71°C (160°F)
Poultry (for example, chicken, turkey) 74°C (165°F)
Poultry (for example, chicken, turkey, duck)
Pieces 74°C (165°F)
Whole 85°C (185°F)
Egg
Egg dishes 74°C (165°F)
Seafood
Fish 70°C (158°F)
Shellfish (for example, shrimp, lobster, crab, scallops, clams, mussels and oysters) (Since it is difficult to use a food thermometer to check the temperature of shellfish, discard any that do not open when cooked. Learn more.) 74°C (165°F)
Others
Others (for example, hot dogs, stuffing, leftovers) 74°C (165°F)
Game Temperature
Chops, steaks and roasts (deer, elk, moose, caribou/reindeer, antelope and pronghorn)
Well done 74°C (165°F)
Ground meat
Ground meat and meat mixtures 74°C (165°F)
Ground venison and sausage 74°C (165°F)
Large game
Bear, bison, musk-ox, walrus, etc. 74°C (165°F)
Small game
Rabbit, muskrat, beaver, etc. 74°C (165°F)
Game birds/waterfowl (for example, wild turkey, duck, goose, partridge and pheasant)
Whole 82°C (180°F)
Breasts and roasts 74°C (165°F)
Thighs, wings 74°C (165°F)
Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird) 74°C (165°F)
Recommended storage times
Food Refrigerator
(4ºC/40ºF)
Freezer
(-18ºC/0ºF)
Meat, poultry and eggs
Fresh beef, veal, lamb, and pork steaks 3-4 days 6-12 months
chops 3-4 days 4-6 months
roasts 3-5 days 4-12 months
Variety meats: tongue, liver, heart, and kidneys 1-2 days 3-4 months
Ham cooked whole ham 7 days 1-2 months
cooked half ham 6-7 days 1-2 months
cooked slices 3-4 days 1-2 months
Hamburger and stew meat 1-2 days 2-4 months
Ground turkey, veal, pork, and lamb 1-2 days 3-4 months
Chicken and turkey whole 1-2 days 1 year
pieces 1-2 days 6-9 months
Giblets (heart, liver, kidney and gizzard) 1-2 days 3-4 months
Hot dogs (Use by 'Best Before' date) opened package 1 week 2 weeks
unopened package 2-3 months 2-3 months
Luncheon meat (Use by 'Best Before' date) opened package 3- 5 days 1- 2 months
unopened package 2 weeks 1- 2 months
Bacon and sausages (Use by 'Best Before' date) bacon 7 days 1 month
raw sausage (chicken, turkey, pork and beef) 1-2 days 2-3 months
Eggs fresh raw Use by 'Best Before' date 4 months (blended eggs)
fresh yolk & white 2 - 4 days 4 months
hard cooked eggs 1 week Not recommended
Game
Small game (for example rabbit, and squirrel) 1-2 days 6-12 month
Big game such as venison (for example deer, elk, moose, caribou/reindeer, antelope and pronghorn) and bison 2-4 days 6-12 months
Ground meat from game 1-2 days 2-3 months
Game stew, soup or casseroles 3-4 days 2-3 months
Opened canned game products (for example soup and stew) 3-4 days 2-3 months
Raw wild birds (for example, whole duck, pheasant, goose and ptarmigan) 1-2 days 3-6 months
Cooked duck or goose 3-4 days 2-3 months
Raw giblets 1-2 days 3-4 months
Fish
Cooked fish 1-2 days 4-6 months
Fatty fish: mullet, ocean and sea perch, char, sea trout, striped bass, salmon, mackerel, bluefish and tuna 2-3 days 2-3 month
Pollock, ocean perch and sea trout 2-3 days 4 months
Fresh lean fish: cod, flounder, haddock, halibut and perch 2-3 days 3-6 months
Smoked fish Herring 3-4 days 2 months
Cold-smoked salmon and white fish 5-8 days 2 months
Hot-smoked salmon and white fish 14 days 6 months
Other smoked fish 1-2 weeks 4-5 weeks
Opened canned fish 1 day Not recommended
Shellfish
Lobster Cooked 1-2 days 6-12 months
Tails 1-2 days 6 months
Shrimp Raw 1-2 days 6-12 months
Cooked 3-4 days 3 months
Crab Cooked 3-5 days 2 months
Clams and mussels De-shelled (shucked) 1-2 days 3-4 months
Scallops De-shelled (shucked) 1-2 days 3-4 months
Live oysters De-shelled (shucked) 1-2 days 3-4 months
Opened canned shellfish 1 day Not recommended
Leftovers and prepared foods
Leftover cooked meat and poultry meat and casseroles 3-4 days 2-3 months
gravy and meat broth 3-4 days 2-3 months
fried chicken 3-4 days 4 months
poultry casseroles 3-4 days 4-6 months
plain poultry pieces 3-4 days 4 months
pieces covered with broth or gravy 3-4 days 6 months
Prepared salads macaroni salad and tuna salad 3-5 days Not recommended
(does not freeze well)
Cooked stuffing 3-4 days 1 month
Soups and stews (with meat or vegetables) 3-4 days 2-3 months

More tips

Did you know?

Colour does not always tell you if your food is safe to eat. Always follow internal cooking temperatures to be safe!

Cleaning your hands, kitchen surfaces, and utensils will help eliminate bacteria and reduce the risk of food poisoning.

  • Clean your digital food thermometer in warm, soapy water between every temperature reading to avoid spreading bacteria.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds.
  • An alcohol-based hand rub can be used if soap and water are not available.
  • You should always wash your hands before and after you touch raw meat, poultry, fish, and seafood, and after using the washroom, handling pets or changing diapers.
  • If you've used a plate or utensils to handle raw food, don't use them again until you've washed them thoroughly in the dishwasher or in warm, soapy water.
  • Use one cutting board for produce, and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, fish, and seafood.
  • Use paper towels to wipe kitchen surfaces, or change dishcloths daily to avoid the risk of cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria. Avoid using sponges, as they are harder to keep bacteria-free.
  • Sanitize countertops, cutting boards, and utensils before and after preparing food. Use a kitchen sanitizer (following the directions on the container) or a bleach solution (5 ml household bleach to 750 ml of water), and rinse with water.

It is important to keep cold food cold and hot food hot, so that your food never reaches the "temperature danger zone" where bacteria can grow quickly and cause food poisoning. Remember to follow safe food handling practices when you shop for, separate, clean, chill, store, and cook foods.

How the Government of Canada protects you

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. Health Canada establishes regulations and standards relating to the safety and nutritional quality of foods sold in Canada. Through inspection and enforcement activities, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency verifies that food sold in Canada meets Health Canada's requirements.

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