News Release
 June 8, 2004
CONTACT: Stefanie Zakowicz

Play It Safe at Father's Day and July 4th Cookouts - Don't Put It On the Bun Until It's Done

Williamsville, NY - Tops Markets reminds everyone to play it safe this Memorial Day weekend by using a food thermometer and following the four Fight Bac! Rules.

Hamburgers are one of the most frequently grilled foods. How do you tell if a burger has reached the safe internal temperature of 160 degrees F? "You can't go by color", says Larry Kohl, director of food safety for Tops, "Color can be misleading." USDA research shows that one out of every four hamburgers turns brown in the middle before it is safely cooked. That's why Tops labels all ground beef packages with cooking instructions to use a thermometer or T-Stick and cook to 160 degrees F. Using a disposable T-stick or a food thermometer is the only way to tell if meat and poultry are safely cooked. Tops has a variety of food thermometers available in all stores.

Follow the four Fight Back! Rules and put them into practice at your cookout:

Clean - wash hands, food surfaces and utensils often with hot soapy water.

Separate - don't cross contaminate by using plates or utensils for raw and cooked food. Use a clean plate for those cooked burgers coming off the grill.

Chill - keep foods in the refrigerator or a cooler filled with ice.

Cook to proper temperatures - use a thermometer to get to the right temperature and not overcook.

Using fat free or no oil marinades adds flavor and tenderizes, too. But remember; marinate in the refrigerator - not on the counter. Don't reuse marinade from raw meat, fish or poultry unless you boil it.

Sauces with sugar, honey or preserves can cause sauce to burn on the meat's exterior before the meat inside can cook. To avoid burning the meat, wait until the last 5 or 10 minutes of grilling to brush on sweet sauces.

A long-handled brush is the safest tool for applying your sauce. After every cookout, clean it in hot, sudsy water or in the dishwasher.

Bring clean utensils and platters outside. Put cooked meat, fish or poultry on a different platter than one with any raw juices.

Keep perishable salads and sandwiches with meat, eggs or seafood in a cooler with gel packs or ice. Don't leave out in the summer sun for more than one hour.

More information about food safety is on Tops's website,

About Tops Markets

Tops Markets, LLC, is one of six retail operating companies under Ahold USA, and the leading supermarket chain in Western New York. Tops currently operates 161 Tops Markets in three states and 204 convenience stores under the Wilson Farms, Sugarcreek and Tops Xpress banners. Founded in 1962, Tops employs nearly 21,000 associates. For more information about Tops, visit the company's website at


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