Easter Egg Safety

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When I was a kid, Easter was my favorite holiday, because I just loved that night before when we would decorate the Easter eggs. I would mix all the colors together and make silly designs, it was great. I had the best time running all around our backyard trying to find the ones I had decorated (hey, now that I think about it, I was getting a little physical activity.. cool). I have very fond memories. I never thought about egg safety though, but of course the dietitian in me does now. If you're planning an egg decorating party tomorrow night (or tonight by the time I get this posted) here are some tips to keep in mind to ensure a food safe Easter for all.

- When you buy your eggs make sure the carton is cold, the eggs are clean and check for any broken ones.
- Before handling and boiling the eggs, wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands
- Thoroughly cook the eggs in a pot of water bringing them to a rapid boil, remove pot (or just turn it off if you have a gas burner) from heat and let stand in the hot water for at least 15 minutes. The yolk and the white must be set.
- When dying and coloring be careful not to crack any of the eggs (by now hardboiled). If this happens, toss that egg out or eat it right away. Cracks are an invitation for bacteria and contamination (and wash your hands before you start decorating)
- After decorating refrigerate immediately. Eggs shouldn't be at a temperature of over 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 2 hours. So strategically plan when you're going to get up and hide the eggs if you're doing an Easter egg hunt. Hide them an hour or less before the hunt starts.
- Avoid dirt and any place where your pet has been or might find them when hiding the eggs
- After the Easter egg hunt refrigerate immediately and eat within a week
- In the refrigerator keep eggs away from any meat, poultry or fish that might contaminate them
- If you want to be extra special careful decorate two batches of egg - one to hide and one to eat... and remember which batch is which

Happy Easter to those who celebrate and a fruit and veggie filled one for those who don't.

Photo courtesy of the G-tastic
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About the Author

Registered dietitian Andrea N. Giancoli is a nutrition advocate, consultant and educator.

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