Nobody likes to be sick on a holiday.
Whether you celebrate Easter or just like making your food colorful, it’s important to make sure any Easter eggs you decorate this season are done so in a way that won’t cause you to get sick.
When we incorporate eggs into decorations and activities like egg hunts, we risk exposing ourselves to some nasty stuff. Eggs are highly susceptible to contamination, especially by Salmonella Enteritidis, a bacteria that causes cramps, diarrhea and fever.
How do eggs become contaminated?
The Salmonella Enteritidis bacteria can be present in eggs before the shell is even formed, inside the mother hen’s body. In the northeastern United States, it is estimated that 1 in 10,000 eggs is contaminated. Because of this, it is highly important that all eggs are thoroughly cooked before being eaten.
What can you do to stay healthy this Easter?
The United States Food and Drug Administration has outlined safety tips for eggs. Here’s a sampling of its tips that might be relevant this Easter.
- Keep eggs refrigerated! Store them in the coolest part of the fridge, not just in the door. Don’t eat eggs that have been out of the fridge for over 2 hours, and if you live in a warm climate, make that 1 hour.
- If you plan on eating your dyed eggs, be sure to use a food-safe dye. Avoid dyeing eggs with cracked shells.
- Wash your hands frequently throughout the process: before and after cooking, and before and after decorating.
- For egg hunts, it may be safer to just use plastic eggs. That way, there’s no risk of someone inadvertently eating an egg that has been unrefrigerated for a long time, and eggs that don’t get found won’t stink up the joint. Plus, you can fill plastic eggs with coins and candies.
- Cook eggs thoroughly. Make sure the yoke and the white are both firm.