Easter egg hunts are fun for kids of all ages. With a little caution, you can make sure your family stays safe from Salmonella and other food poisoning illnesses caused by eating contaminated eggs. If you don’t celebrate Easter, this info on egg safety will still come in handy, especially with summer picnics around the corner.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an estimated 142,000 illnesses each year are caused by consuming eggs contaminated with Salmonella. The FDA has put regulations in place to help prevent contamination of eggs on the farm and during shipping and storage. But consumers play a key role in preventing illness associated with eggs. In fact, the most effective way to prevent egg-related illness is by knowing how to buy, store, handle and cook eggs — or foods that contain them — safely.
Follow these safe handling tips to help protect yourself and your family, courtesy of the FDA:
When buying eggs
• Buy eggs only if sold from a refrigerator or refrigerated case.
• Open the carton and make sure that the eggs are clean and the shells are not cracked.
• Refrigerate promptly.
Store raw eggs in their original carton and use them within 3 weeks for best quality.
Rules for eating hard boiled eggs
• Cooked eggs, including hard-boiled eggs, and egg-containing foods, should not sit out for more than 2 hours. Within 2 hours either reheat or refrigerate.
• Use hard-cooked eggs (in the shell or peeled) within 1 week after cooking. Cooked eggs for a picnic should be packed in an insulated cooler with enough ice or frozen gel packs to keep them cold.
• Don’t put the cooler in the trunk — carry it in the air-conditioned passenger compartment of the car.
• If taking cooked eggs to work or school, pack them with a small frozen gel pack or a frozen juice box.
If you enjoy making egg salad, deviled eggs or other delicious egg dishes, here are more egg safety tips, for you.
A safe egg hunt
All these “rules” got your head spinning? For a worry-free egg hunt, either hide the eggs an hour or two before the hunt and put them in the refrigerator right after the hunt, or better yet, use plastic decorative eggs if you are going to keep them out overnight or after the hunt. You can keep the decorated hard-boiled eggs in the fridge until ready to eat or adorn your table.