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Food handling precautions

It’s important to be careful when handling food. Bacteria that cause food poisoning can multiply quickly. To make things worse, these bacteria are invisible and have no taste or smell.

Here are some tips:

  • Wash fruits and vegetables before cutting them. Bacteria on the surface can get inside fruits and vegetables when you cut them.
  • Keep perishable food in the refrigerator until you are ready to prepare it. 
  • Marinate food in the refrigerator. 
  • Do not reuse marinade that was used for raw meat unless it is boiled first. 
  • Avoid cross-contamination, which occurs when cooked or ready-to-eat foods come into contact with utensils, work surfaces or hands that have touched raw food. 
  • Keep any cooked or reheated food at a temperature of 60°C or higher until you are ready to serve it.
General notice

How to avoid contamination

The best way to avoid contaminating the food you prepare is to closely follow the hygiene and cleaning recommendations.

Avoid the danger zone

Bacteria grow quickly between 4°C and 60 °C. Between 35ºC and 45ºC, they can double their numbers every 15 minutes. This means that you must prepare foods exposed to room temperature as quickly as possible.

Take out only what you need, and return the food to the refrigerator as soon as you are done with it.

Foods requiring special care

Be extra careful when preparing certain foods.

Raw meat, fish and oysters

There is always an element of risk when eating raw meat and fish, such as tartare and sushi or raw oysters. Raw meat, fish and oysters must be high quality and as fresh as possible.

Smoked fish

Vulnerable individuals, especially pregnant women, should refrain from eating smoked fish This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only), because it may contain Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Clostridium botulinum bacteria are also likely to grow even if the food is stored in the refrigerator and shows no signs of spoilage. This is why smoked fish is often sold frozen. These products must have a “keep frozen prior to use” indication on the packaging.

When smoked fish is sold refrigerated, make sure that a “best before” date appears on the packaging. This date must be no later than 14 days after the smoked fish was packaged. A “keep refrigerated” statement must also appear on the packaging.

Wild game meat

Wild game meat, like farmed meat, is a highly perishable food that may contain microorganisms that cause food poisoning. When preparing wild game, you are required to comply with certain standards. 


To prevent intoxication, fiddlehead fans must prepare fiddleheads properly before eating. Visit the Fiddleheads page to find out what to do.

Wild and domestic mushrooms

If you are gathering wild or domestic mushrooms, learn more about choosing where to harvest them and how to identify edible species.

You should also find out more about the dangers of eating mushrooms and when they should not be eaten.

Pine nuts

Some people may experience a reaction after eating pine nuts.

Sprouts and microgreens

Sprouts and microgreens have been linked to cases of food poisoning. These raw foods can contain harmful bacteria. Visit the Sprouts and microgreens page for recommendations to prevent intoxication.

Home canning

Canning is a highly effective storage method with many benefits. But you need to be careful when canning food at home. Improper equipment and incorrect techniques can pose health risks. 

Last update: April 9, 2024


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General notice

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