News Release
 June 9, 2006
CONTACT: Tracy Pawelski


September marks National Food Safety Education Month

Williamsville, NY - Are the surfaces in your kitchen properly cleaned and sanitized? Do you always wash your hands after handling raw meat? September marks National Food Safety Education Month and TOPS Markets wants to make sure your kitchen and food preparation tactics meet safety guidelines in order to ensure a safe month for you and your family.

The theme for this year's Food Safety Month is "Don't Compromise - Clean and Sanitize" and focuses on the important procedures necessary for proper cleaning and sanitizing. Bacteria and their toxins cause most food poisoning or food-borne illness so its especially important to be sure your hands and kitchen surfaces are washed often and with hot soapy water. TOPS offers the following safety tips to keep in mind not only during Food Safety Education Month, but also all year long:

§ While it may seem like common sense, be sure to wash your hands with hot soapy water for at least 20 seconds before handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers or handling pets.

§ If you are wearing rubber or plastic gloves, wash your hands just as often because the gloves can pick up bacteria as well.

§ Consider using paper towels or antibacterial wipes to clean up kitchen surfaces. Bacteria can linger in the towels, dishcloths and sponges you reuse, so be sure clean after every use. Do not reuse a dishcloth or sponge used to wipe up meat or poultry juices without washing it first.

§ Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go onto the next food.

§ Do not use a wooden cutting board when cutting raw meat and poultry. The juices can seep into the wood fibers. Use plastic or other non-porous cutting boards. These boards should also be washed in hot soapy water after each use.

In addition to keeping your hands and kitchen surfaces clean, be sure to properly rinse food items before preparing. Under running tap water, rinse fresh fruits and vegetables, including the skins and rinds even though they are not eaten. Those fruits and vegetables that have firm-skins, consider scrubbing with a clean vegetable brush while rinsing under the tap. Also be sure to rinse poultry as well before cooking it. To help better educate both customers and themselves, TOPS associates are currently in the midst of a contest to demonstrate food safety initiatives. Throughout September, TOPS associates are participating in a weekly quiz on food safety. In addition to learning all about food safety, the associates can then in turn share the information with TOPS customers. Those associates who receive perfect scores are also eligible for a random prize drawing each week.

For more information on food safety tips, log onto

TOPS Markets, LLC, headquartered in Williamsville, NY is one of four retail-operating companies under Ahold USA and is a division of Giant Food Stores in Carlisle, PA. TOPS currently operates 119 TOPS Markets, and 4 Martin's Super Food Stores. With nearly 16,000 associates, TOPS serves a three state market area. For more information about TOPS Markets, visit the company's website at or


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