News Release
 May 23, 2008
CONTACT: Katie McKenna

Williamsville, NY - Tops Friendly Markets wants its neighbors to grill safely as Memorial Day rings in the unofficial start of the summer season.

"The symbols of summer, from grilling to kids at play outdoors, are what makes the season special," said James DiMartino, senior manager of food safety at Tops. "But it is important to remember that there are precautions to take when heading outdoors to grill up that holiday meal. We at Tops Friendly Markets want to share some basic tips to keep our neighbors safe this summer."

Proper grilling will prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying and causing illness, DiMartino said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers several tips to play it safe from the grocery store to the dinner table:

-At the grocery store, pick up cold foods like meat and poultry right before heading to the checkout

-Separate raw meat and poultry from other foods to prevent cross-contamination

-Have a cooler in your vehicle if you plan to make additional stops after leaving the grocery store

-Perishable food should be refrigerated as soon as possible after leaving the grocery store

-Poultry and ground beef not being used in 1-2 days should be frozen

-Other meats not being used in 4-5 days should be frozen

-Poultry and cubed meat or stew meat should only be marinated for up to 2 days

-Other meats can be marinated for up to 5 days

-Use an insulated cooler with sufficient ice or ice packs to transport food from your home to another location

-Place coolers out of the direct sunlight and only open when necessary

-Pack beverages in one cooler and perishables in another cooler

-Never use the same platter for raw and cooked meat

-Ensure there is a clean source of water if you are eating away from home

-If pre-cooking food in the microwave to reduce grilling time, make sure the food goes immediately from the microwave to a preheated grill

-Pre-cooking meat in a microwave will release some of the juices that drip on hot grill coals, which can lead to charring

-Cook food to a safe minimum temperate to ensure bacteria is destroyed

-Remove visible fat on meat and poultry to prevent charring

-Never partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later

-Keep meat and poultry on a warm grill until it is ready to serve; or place in a home oven at 200 degrees F

-Food should never sit out for more than one hour and refrigerate leftovers promptly

Tops Markets, LLC, is headquartered in Williamsville, NY and operates 71 full-service supermarkets and five franchise supermarkets. With over 10,000 associates, Tops is the leading full-service grocery retailer in Western New York, Central New York, including Rochester, and Northwestern Pennsylvania. For more information about Tops Markets, visit the company's Web site at


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