Safe Food Storage: Keep It Cold!

Starting date:
December 30, 2015
Posting date:
December 30, 2015
Type of communication:
Information Update
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Food Safety
General Public
Identification number:

Storing food properly is one key step you can take to protect yourself and your family from food poisoning. Many foods can safely be stored at room temperature but others need to be kept refrigerated or frozen to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Think about safe food storage for its entire journey—from the time you buy it at the grocery store or market until it reaches your plate. Keep the following steps in mind to reduce your chances of food poisoning.

When shopping:

  • Check the “best before” date on packaged foods.
  • Keep raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood away from other food in your grocery cart and reusable grocery bags or bins to avoid having their juices come into contact with other food.
  • Buy cold and frozen food at the end of your shopping trip.
  • If you are not going straight home from the grocery store or if perishable food will be left out for more than two hours, put it in an iced cooler until you get home.

At home:

  • Set your refrigerator temperature at 4˚C (40˚F) or cooler.
  • Set your freezer at -18˚C (0˚F) or lower.
  • Foods that must be chilled and have been left at room temperature for more than two hours should be discarded.

Foods that must be chilled:

Meat, poultry, fish and seafood:

  • Refrigerate as soon as you get home. Keep these foods in their original packaging and store on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to avoid juices from dripping on other foods.
  • If you are not using meat, poultry, fish and seafood right away, it is best to freeze it.

Dairy products:

  • Keep these foods refrigerated. Store dairy products and eggs in the coldest part of the refrigerator, which is usually near the back at the bottom, not on the door.

Frozen foods:

  • Many foods that are sold frozen are designed to be cooked from frozen.
  • Only remove these foods from their packaging when you are ready to cook them.
  • Follow all instructions on the package.

For more information:

Media enquiries

Health Canada
(613) 957-2983

Public enquiries

(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709