Factor food safety into egg dyeing

Egg dyeing.jpg thumbnail

Amelia Losavio, 8, dyes hard-boiled eggs for Easter. Photo by Tobie Blanchard

(03/23/16) BATON ROUGE, La. – Eggs often are a part of an Easter celebration. Families enjoy dyeing and decorating hard-boiled eggs, but food safety should be factored into the fun.

LSU AgCenter food safety expert Wenqing Xu said chickens carry salmonella in their guts and can transmit the bacteria to their eggs, so taking food safety precautions begin with hand-washing.

“Always wash your hands before and after handling, cooking and dyeing eggs,” Xu said.

Also, don’t use eggs that are cracked or dirty for boiling and dyeing. Xu said if eggs crack during the boiling process, don’t use those for dyeing.

Xu recommends allowing the eggs to cool and returning them to the refrigerator before dyeing them. She said this is called the “hurdle technique.”

“By cooking, then chilling, you are setting up hurdles for the bacteria to cross over,” she said, adding the more obstacles, the greater the chance of eliminating salmonella.

Use food-grade dye or decorations on the eggs, and be sure the eggs don’t stay at room temperature for longer than two hours, Xu said.

According to food safety guidelines, hard-boiled eggs should be consumed within a week of cooking.

If your egg-decorating plans include drilling a hole in the egg and blowing out the egg white and yolk, make sure to clean and sanitize the eggs and take extra precaution if using your mouth to blow out the insides, Xu said.

The food safety expert also emphasized the need for proper sanitation when handling baby chicks, which children may receive as pets at Easter time.

Before buying a chick, ask if it has been tested for salmonella. “If it hasn’t, don’t buy it,” Xu said.

If chicks are brought indoors, keep them contained to a specific area of the house to reduce the risk of spreading bacteria.

3/23/2016 2:39:26 PM
Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture