Easter Egg Safety

For many, Easter is a time to decorate eggs for the egg hunt. I remember gathering around the kitchen table with my siblings decorating eggs by writing names and sticking on the decals. The next morning my parents hid the eggs the first time, then after the first kids got up and found the eggs, we re-hid them for the next group.

My own children and nieces and nephews continue this fun family tradition. Eggs are still relatively inexpensive and the basic dye kit only costs around $2. We have fun dyeing the eggs as well as hunting for them. These days, however, you do need to pay attention to food safety principles. The inside of an egg, once considered sterile, is now known to occasionally harbor Salmonella. Salmonella can cause an intestinal infection, so it is important to cook eggs to inactivate the bacteria, and then keep them cold.

The Egg Board recommends this method: place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan; add tap water to cover at least 1 inch above eggs; cover pan, place on burner and bring to a boil. Upon boiling, remove the pan from the burner; allow large eggs to set for 15 minutes (12 minutes for medium eggs, 18 minutes for extra large eggs); then place in ice cold water until completely cooled. This last step prevents the yolks from turning green by keeping the sulfur produced during the cooking process from adhering to the iron in the yolk and forming a green deposit.

Hard-cooked eggs can also be contaminated after cooking. The following steps will help keep hard-cooked eggs safe when coloring and hiding them. Don’t color or hide cracked eggs. If you plan to eat colored eggs, be sure to use food coloring or specially made food-grade egg dyes. Once eggs are colored, remember to keep them refrigerated in their cartons. Eggs out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours should be discarded. When hiding eggs, carefully place them in areas safe from contact with pets, wild animals, birds, reptiles, insects or lawn chemicals.

-pointers by Peggy

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