Is your family looking forward to dyeing Easter eggs and taking part in an Easter egg hunt this year? With so many egg-citing activities just around the corner, now is a great time for moms to brush up on Easter egg safety so they can protect their families from foodborne illnesses.

Shopping for Easter Eggs

Purchase eggs that are stored in a refrigerated case. Before placing it in your cart or shopping basket, open the carton and check for clean, unbroken shells. The egg carton should include a USDA grade shield and a “sell by” date that indicates freshness.

Refrigerating Easter Eggs

Don’t let a rotten egg spoil your Easter fun… Even clean, uncracked eggs can contain Salmonella, a type of bacteria that can make you extremely sick. Bacteria present on uncooked eggs can multiply quickly at room temperature. Make the grocery store your last stop before heading home so the eggs can be refrigerated as soon as possible, and never leave uncooked eggs out for more than two hours.

Store eggs in the coldest part of your refrigerator (40 degrees F or below), not on the shelf in the door, which is typically warmer.

Hard-boiled eggs spoil faster than fresh ones because a protective coating on the shell is washed away during the boiling process. Hard-boiled eggs should always be refrigerated within two hours and consumed within a week.

Decorating Easter Eggs

Always wash your hands before and after handling eggs. If you plan to eat your colorful creations afterward, remember to use food-safe coloring and put them back in the refrigerator within two hours.

Blowing Out Eggshells

Sometimes eggs are “blown out” so the emptied shells can be used for decorating. Because raw eggs may contain Salmonella, you need to be extra cautious when blowing out eggshells. To destroy bacteria that might be present on the outer shell, wash the egg in hot water, then rinse with a solution of one teaspoon of liquid chlorine bleach per 1/2 cup of water.

Hunting for Easter Eggs

Eggs that come in contact with dirt can pick up bacteria, especially if they are cracked. If the eggs are going to be eaten, hide them in places away from dirt, pets, moisture, and other sources of bacteria.

Make sure the total Easter egg “hide and hunt” time doesn’t last more than two hours and that any found eggs are washed, re-refrigerated, and eaten within a week.

 

With a little common sense and attention to safety, you can enjoy decorating – and eating – your Easter eggs, and keep that extra spring in your hop. Wishing you and your family a Happy Easter!