Helpful consumer hints for traditional kick off to summer grilling season
Tops Friendly Markets, a leading full-service grocery retailer in upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania and western Vermont, wants its neighbors to grill safely as Memorial Day rings in the unofficial start of the summer cook-out season.
"When it comes to grilling meats, it is best to remember 'don't put it on the bun until it's done,'" said James DiMartino, Tops' senior manager of food safety. "We love our burgers, but no matter the size or seasoning, all burgers made with ground beef need to be cooked to an internal temperature of 160° F to kill any harmful bacteria, such as E.coli."
Among the safety tips for summer food preparers are:
•Use a meat thermometer (0-222° F) to take your burger's temperature by inserting it in the thickest part and waiting 15-20 seconds for a reading.
•Safe temperatures for chops, steaks and roasts from beef, veal and lamb are 145° F for medium rare, 160° F for medium, and 170° F for well done. For ground and whole poultry, the temperature should be 165°F, and pork chops and roast should be 145° F. For all meats that you may want to add stuffing to, the item must reach 165°F and then held for 16 seconds.
•Marinated foods should be stored in the refrigerator at 41°F, and not on the counter or outdoors. If the marinade is to be used as a sauce on the cooked food, keep some of it in a separate container before adding the raw meat, poultry or seafood. Never reuse marinade.
•When preparing summer salads, ensure that all ingredients are pre-chilled, to 45°F or less, before they are all mixed together. Other ingredients can be cooled overnight in shallow pans.
•All potatoes, tuna, eggs and mayonnaise should be cold. Potatoes, macaroni and eggs should be cooked one-day ahead, and canned tuna pre-chilled overnight in the refrigerator.
Tops Markets LLC is headquartered in Williamsville, and operates 153 full-service supermarkets - 148 company-owned and five franchise locations under the Tops, Grand Union and Bryant's banners. With more than 15,000 associates, Tops is a leading full-service grocery retailer.
For more information about Tops Markets, visit the company's website at www.topsmarkets.com.