July 17, 2024

Should You Eat Easter Eggs? The USDA Has Answers

Egg safety is important at all times of year, but at Easter it’s really critical. Many eggs can carry Salmonella bacteria, and there have been quite a few outbreaks linked to shell eggs. Are they safe to eat? The USDA has some answers.

Should You Eat Easter Eggs? The USDA Has Answers

Salmonella can not only be present on the eggshell, but inside the egg itself. If hens have bacteria in their ovaries, it will be inside the egg as it develops.

Plus, the shell is porous, and bacteria can easily pass through the shell. So you need to be careful about handling them. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling raw eggs. After the eggs are cooked, you can dye them.

Never dye uncooked eggs. Make sure that the eggs are hard boiled first. And cook the eggs well done. To safely hard cook eggs, put the raw eggs into a saucepan and cover them with cold water by one inch. Bring to a boil quickly over high heat. When the water is boiling briskly, take the pan off the heat, cover it, and let stand for 12 minutes for medium eggs, 15 minutes for large eggs, and 18 minutes for extra large eggs. Drain the eggs in the sink and run cold water into the pan; add some ice cubes. Let stand for a few minutes, then gently crack the eggs under the water and peel.

If you are going to hide real eggs outdoors for an Easter egg hunt, do not eat them afterwards. Bacteria from dirt can pass through the shells to contaminate the eggs, even when they are hard cooked. And any contact with animals can also contaminate them.

Remember that if the eggs are out of refrigeration for more than two hours, they are not safe to eat. Bacterial counts can more than double every twenty minutes between the temperatures of 40°F and 140°F. This time drops to one hour if the ambient air temperature is above 90°F.

So enjoy your holiday and keep your Easter eggs (and your family) safe.

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