Easter Egg Food Safety Tips
Be Egg-stra Careful:
"It's important to be safe and sanitary during fun springtime egg activities," says Cayla Westergard, director of Consumer Affairs at the Iowa Egg Council. Follow these guidelines:
- Wash your hands thoroughly before handling the eggs at every step, including cooking, cooling and dyeing.
- If you won't be coloring your eggs right after cooking them, store them in their cartons in the refrigerator.
- Don't cook or color cracked eggs. Discard them.
- Use food coloring or specially-made, food-grade egg dyes.
- Use non-toxic crayons, pens, paints, glue and other art supplies on any eggs you will eat later.
- When coloring the eggs, use water that’s warmer than the eggs, and refrigerate them in their cartons right after coloring them.
- Don't eat eggs that have been unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours.
- If using hard-cooked eggs as a centerpiece or decoration and they will be out of refrigeration for many hours or days, cook extra eggs for eating and discard the eggs that have been left out too long.
- Hiding hard-boiled eggs for your Easter egg hunt may introduce harmful bacteria. Consider using plastic eggs for this purpose if you plan on eating the real ones.
- About 1.5 percent of young children are allergic to eggs, which can cause skin irritation or anaphalaxis, according to the Food Allergy and Anaphalaxis Network (FAAN). To keep your affected youngster safe, have her decorate wooden eggs, available at craft stores, just like the real thing. Read labels on candy carefully to avoid stocking her basket with potential allergens. Children with an egg allergy can most certainly get in on the egg decorating fun at Easter, just not with real eggs. The FAAN recommends decorating plastic eggs with stickers, or painting or decorating wooden eggs with glitter, ribbons, or permanent markers. Another idea is to make paper maiche eggs, instructions are below. Other Easter-type activity ideas include hiding plastic eggs with coins, stickers, themed erasers, or even coupons for inexpensive activities such as movies, roller skating, etc. Easter baskets can be filled with small toys, coloring books, art supplies, or storybooks. The key to enjoying Easter for children with food allergies is to take the focus off of food.