Holiday egg hunt celebrations and food safety

The fun tradition of decorating and coloring eggs has the potential to turn dangerous if not following food safety guidelines.

Spring is here! There is a thaw in the air as the winter snow disappears. Many families are looking forward to their annual egg hunt celebrations with family members and friends. This tradition needs to include egg food safety to ensure that the kids and adults enjoy the celebration without the risk food poisoning due to unsafe egg handling.

Michigan State University Extension recommends following the partnership for food safety education recommendations when handling eggs:

  • Use eggs that have been refrigerated and discard eggs that are cracked or dirty.
  • When cooking, place a single layer of eggs in a saucepan. Add water to at least one-inch above the eggs. Cover the pan, bring the water to a boil, and carefully remove the pan from the heat. Let the eggs stand (18 minutes for extra-large eggs, 15 minutes for large, 12 minutes for medium). Immediately run cold water over the eggs. When the eggs are cool enough to handle, place them in an uncovered container in the refrigerator where they can air-dry.
  • When decorating, be sure to use food-grade dyes. It is safe to use commercial egg dyes, liquid food coloring, and fruit-drink powders. When handling eggs, be careful not to crack them. Otherwise, bacteria could enter the egg through the cracks in the shell.
  • Keep hard-cooked Easter eggs chilled on a shelf inside the refrigerator, not in the refrigerator door.
  • Hide the eggs in places that are protected from dirt, pets and other potential sources of bacteria.
  • Remember the two hour rule, and make sure the “found” eggs are back in the refrigerator or consumed within two hours.
  • Remember that hard-boiled eggs are only safe to eat for one week after cooking.

You want to start with a hard-cooked egg before the coloring and decoration of your eggs begins.

Michigan Food  says in order to make a hard-cooked egg you need to:

  • Place the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan; add enough cool tap water to cover at least one-inch above eggs.
  • Cover the pan and quickly bring the water just to boiling. Turn off the heat and, if needed, prevent further boiling by removing the pan from the burner.
  • Let covered eggs stand in hot water for water for 15 minutes (for large eggs). Adjust the time by about three minutes up or down for each size larger or smaller.
  • Immediately run cold water over the eggs or place them in ice water until they are completely cooled.
  • Dry and refrigerate the eggs, or decorate them immediately.

Spring is here, go outdoors and have some fun with your family and friends hunting for holiday eggs which you know that are safe to enjoy and eat.

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