Egg rules for the safety of the hunt

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, March 22, 2012

Easter is just around the corner and, with Easter, comes the tradition of hiding and hunting eggs.

Grant Lyons, Pike County Extension coordinator, said that colored plastic eggs have almost bumped hard-boiled eggs from the hunt. However, there are still those who prefer to hold on to tradition and boil, decorate, hide and hunt “real” eggs at Easter time.

“It’s important to handle eggs safely so that’s something that we really want to encourage people to do,” Lyons said. “Bridgett Brannon knows all of the do’s and don’ts of handling ‘Easter eggs.’ And, she said cleanliness is the key to the safe handling of Easter eggs.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Brannon, a regional agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, said that the washing of hands and all utensils is most important in the safe handling of eggs.

“Once the eggs are boiled, you should keep them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to hide them,” Brannon said. “You should never eat eggs that have been unrefrigerated for more than two hours. And, if there are cracks in the egg shells, you should get rid of them because bacteria could have gotten through the cracks and contaminated the eggs.”

Some people hollow out eggshells by blowing the raw egg through holes in the shell. Then, the hollow shell is filled with different kinds of candy.

Brannon said there is danger in that.

“You could expose yourself to salmonella from the raw egg touching your mouth,” she said. “To be safe, use pasteurized shell eggs. If pasteurized eggs aren’t available, you should sanitize the outside of the egg before it touches your mouth. If you plan to use the raw eggs that have been blown out of the shell, cook and eat them right away. Do not store them.”

Brannon said eggs should be hidden in a clean place.

“Don’t hide eggs in areas where pets or other animals might visit,” she said. “To make sure the eggs are safe to eat, don’t hunt them longer than two hours and then refrigerate them right away. If the eggs have been hunted longer than two hours, throw them away.”

Brannon said best way to make sure that eggs are safe to eat after the hunt is to toss tradition and hide plastic eggs.