News Release
 February 9, 2005
CONTACT: Stefanie Zakowicz

Williamsville, NY  Easter and Passover are both right around the corner, and whether you will be indulging in chocolate bunnies and jellybeans or participating in a traditional Seder, eggs will play a role in both celebrations. Tops Markets wants to make sure your next holiday is a safe one with the proper care and treatment of holiday eggs.

Tops reminds customers that safe food handling should be a priority, especially during the holidays. As people busily prepare for their Easter and Passover celebrations, Tops offers the following safety tips to keep consumers aware of the dangers of food-borne illness that are often overlooked during this hectic time.

Egg Tips Proper refrigeration, cooking and handling should prevent most egg safety problems. Tops Markets offers some safety steps you can take at home to ensure an egg-cellent holiday: § Wash hands thoroughly using soap and warm water before you handle eggs at every step including, cooking, cooling and dyeing.

§ Don't Eat Raw Eggs

§ Buy Clean Eggs - At the store, choose Grade A or AA eggs with clean, un-cracked shells. Make sure they've been refrigerated in the store.

§ Refrigerate Eggs - Take eggs straight home and store them immediately in a refrigerator set at 40 °F or slightly below. Store them in the grocery carton in the coldest part of the refrigerator and not in the door.

§ Use Eggs Within Recommended Times - Use raw shell eggs within 3 to 5 weeks. Hard-boiled eggs will keep refrigerated for 7-10 days.

§ Handle Eggs Safely - Wash hands, utensils, equipment, and work areas with warm, soapy water before and after contact with eggs. Don't keep eggs -- including Easter eggs -- out of the refrigerator more than 2 hours. Eggs kept at room temperature for more than 2 hours lose moisture and become susceptible to bacterial growth.

-more- Tops/Easter Egg Tips Page 2 of 2

§ Cook Eggs Eggs should be cooked thoroughly until yolks are firm. For hard-boiling eggs, cover eggs in a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover and then let stand for a half hour.

Coloring Easter Eggs Now that youve properly hard-boiled your eggs, check and make sure there are no cracks. Color only un-cracked eggs. If you want to eat your dyed eggs later, use food coloring or specially made food-grade egg dyes. If eggs crack during dyeing, discard them. Also discard any eggs that have not been refrigerated for more than two hours.

If you are hiding eggs, pick the hiding places carefully. Dont hide them too far in advance, they should be hidden and found within a two-hour time span. Try to avoid locations where the eggs could come in contact with dirt or animals. Make sure to refrigerate the eggs after they have been found.

Tops Markets, LLC is one of six retail-operating companies under Ahold USA, one of the leading supermarket operations in the U.S. Tops currently operates 155 Tops Markets and 202 convenience stores under the Wilson Farms, Sugarcreek and Tops Xpress banners, in New York, Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio. Tops website can be found at -end-

Attachments: Easter Facts and Figures Egg Decorating Ideas Symbolism in Traditional Passover Foods

Source: American Egg Board,


As you begin making the preparations for your Easter celebration, Tops Markets offers you some Easter trivia to entertain your family and friends with.

Ø The Easter bunny started out as the Easter hare in ancient oriental cultures.

Ø The first documented use of the bunny as a symbol of Easter appears in Germany in the 1500s.

Ø Also in Germany, the Easter bunny was first connected with Easter eggs. Children would make nests of leaves and grasses and place them in their yards. They believed that during the night, the Easter bunny would fill the nests with brightly colored eggs.

Ø The Pennsylvania Dutch brought the Easter Bunny to the United States in the 1700s. Children eagerly awaited the arrival of Oschter Haws and his gifts.

Ø Easter eggs date back to Medieval times where records show eggs were often given as Easter gifts to servants by their masters.

Ø The Easter basket originates from the ancient Catholic custom of taking food for Easter dinner to mass to be blessed.

Ø Ninety million chocolate Easter bunnies are produced every year.

Ø According to 76% of Americans, chocolate bunnies should be eaten ears first.

Ø Americans consume 16 billion jellybeans at Easter. If all these jellybeans were lined end to end, they would circle the globe nearly three times.

Ø Hot cross buns were among the earliest Easter treats, made by European monks and given to the poor during Lent.

Ø Pretzels were originally associated with Easter. The twists in the pretzel were thought to resemble arms crossed in prayer.


EGG-CELLENT DECORATING IDEAS This Easter, instead of dyeing your eggs basic colors, try some of these egg-cellent decorating ideas.

Rubber Band Eggs  Wrap rubber bands around egg. Dip the egg into the dye. The dye will seep into the areas not covered by the rubber bands. Blot dry with a paper towel and remove rubber bands. Repeat process with another color dye if desired.

Secret Message Eggs  Using a white crayon, write a message on your egg before placing it in the dye. Once its placed in the dye, your secret message will appear. Try drawing other shapes and spirals in crayon as well!

Seeing Stripes Eggs  Place your egg into a bowl of dye. Once dry, use thin strips of tape to cover the egg either horizontally or vertically. Place the egg in another color of dye. Once the egg is dry, remove the tape.

Starry Night Eggs  Place your egg into a bowl dye. Once its dry, place star-shaped stickers in various spots all over the egg. Then place the egg into another color of dye. Once dry, remove the stickers. You can also try using loose-leaf reinforcement stickers for a different effect.

For those hard-boiled eggs you dont plan on eating, try gluing ribbon, tissue paper or other objects to the egg for an added effect. Here are a couple non-edible decorating ideas:

Egg People  Try making a whole egg family! Glue google eyes and yarn for hair to the egg. Add a piece of fabric to make a little skirt for your egg person.

Be-jeweled  Using white glue, attach different colors of plastic jewels and sequins to really shine up your eggs!

SYMBOLISM IN TRADITIONAL PASSOVER FOODS The food served at a traditional Passover Seder symbolizes the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt to escape slavery.

Roasted Egg  An egg serves as the symbol of the cycle of life, from birth to death to re-birth. To roast an egg, first hard-boil it, then using tongs, hold it over a gas burner or candle flame.

Unleavened Bread  No food containing yeast (leavened) or grains are allowed at the Seder table. This is to commemorate the Israelites who fled Egypt quickly to escape slavery. There was no time to for them to let their bread dough rise and had to cook it into hard crackers in the desert, also known as matzoh.

Lamb Bone  This symbolizes the lamb sacrificed at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem on the night before the Israelites fled Egypt. The blood of that sacrificed was used to mark the doors of Israeli homes, so they would be passed over. Today, many families substitute turkey or chicken for the lamb.

Bitter Herbs  Fresh horseradish symbolizes the bitterness of slavery.

Charoset  A traditional Passover dish consisting of chopped apples, often, nuts, raisins, spices and wine. The mixture represents the mortar Hebrew slaves used to make the Pharaohs bricks.

Wine  During the Seder, 4 glasses of wine are poured as a representation of the 4 stages of exodus: freedom, deliverance, redemption and release. A fifth cup of wine (Cup of Elijah) is poured as an offering.



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