One of the common symbols of the Easter holiday, along with bunnies and baskets, is the colorfully decorated Easter Egg. After parents hard-boil a dozen eggs or more, kids spend hours lovingly coloring the eggs. Eggs are dipped in different colors of dye, painted, coated in glue and glitter, or even covered in stickers and feathers. Once the eggs have been decorated, they are hidden in the yard or around the home for the children to find and collect once more. After all of this, can it still be safe to eat the eggs?
Materials Used in Egg Decoration
When determining the safety of eating Easter Eggs after decoration, it is necessary to first consider the materials used in the decoration of the eggs. The shells of eggs are porous, so whatever materials go on the outside will pass through into the edible portion of the egg. Due to this quality, parents should avoid allowing children to eat Easter Eggs that have been decorated using materials not specifically intended for food decoration. Many types of glue and paint, for example, are not meant for human consumption, and eating eggs decorated with these materials is unsafe.
Food dyes, such as those found in the cake-decorating section of the grocery store, are non-toxic, and will not affect the quality of the egg. Most egg-decorating kits are non-toxic, and Easter Eggs created with these kits are edible. Crayons and Elmer’s glue are also not poisonous, and can be used in decorating. Parents should read labels to ensure that the materials being used are non-toxic.
Salmonella and Easter Eggs
Easter eggs can harbor dangerous bacteria, under one of two conditions. If either of these conditions exist, the eggs should not be eaten:
● Lack of refrigeration- Hard boiled eggs should be kept refrigerated, in order to prevent the growth of salmonella, a form of bacteria that causes food poisoning. After the eggs have been cooked, they should not be left unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours at any time. During decoration, eggs should be kept in the refrigerator until ready to be decorated, and returned to the fridge to be kept cool as soon as decoration is complete. Eggs should be hidden immediately prior to the egg hunt, and any eggs that are not found within 2 hours should be discarded.
● Cracked shells- A cracked shell can let in bacteria, which makes the egg inedible. After the egg hunt, parents should inspect all Easter Eggs carefully, and discard any eggs that have breaks or cracks in the shell, in order to prevent food poisoning.
Eating Easter Eggs
Peeling the eggs after an Easter Egg hunt offers a high-protein snack that’s a healthy alternative to the chocolate bunnies found in most Easter Baskets. In addition, using the eggs, instead of throwing them away, teaches kids an important lesson about conservation. Overall, eating leftover Easter Eggs can be a fun and safe experience for parents and kids