Keep your eggs safe this Easter
Eggs are delicious and nutritious but preparing them correctly is important to stay safe from foodborne illness.
What is Easter without eggs? Eggs are a delicious, nutritious and an economical food, but preparing them correctly is important to keep you and your family safe from illness. One great quality about eggs is that they can be cooked in so many different ways! Eggs can be hard-boiled, poached, scrambled, baked, fried, sunny side up, over easy, over medium, over hard, deviled, made into casseroles, made into meringue topping and so much more.
Eating raw or undercooked eggs is never a good idea. Raw or undercooked eggs that are not pasteurized are at risk for non-typhoidal salmonella. Non-typhoidal Salmonella can cause diarrhea and abdominal cramps within 12-72 hours after consumption and if not treated, can lead to death. The elderly, immune-compromised, and preschool aged children are at a higher risk of severe illness and should not consume raw or undercooked eggs.
Cooking eggs will kill bacteria, but be aware of how your eggs are done. If you enjoy them sunny side up, the runny part of the egg is at a higher risk of contracting non-typhoidal salmonella foodborne illness. Make sure your eggs are cooked to 145 degrees Fahrenheit prior to eating. Use a food thermometer to test your sunny side up eggs prior to eating or better yet, cook eggs until they are no longer runny, with firm yolks and whites. You can also opt for scrambled or over hard eggs, which are less likely to be contaminated as they are cooked through. If you’re baking a casserole with raw egg, make sure the finished product measures 160 degrees F on your food thermometer. Avoiding undercooked or raw eggs is the best way to avoid non-typhoidal salmonella illness.
Other ways to keep your eggs safe are:
- Store them in the refrigerator at 40 degrees F or below.
- Make sure to discard any cracked or discolored eggs.
- Clean surfaces with raw egg on them with warm soapy water and a food-safe sanitizing agent.
If you’re hunting for colored Easter eggs this year, it is best to use plastic eggs for the hunt. You could also make a batch of colored eggs to eat and another, separate batch to hunt. Color each batch differently to help distinguish between the two as those put outside will have to be discarded. Do not consume any eggs that have been outside during the Easter egg hunt. Michigan State University Extension recommends you not allow anyone to eat eggs that have been at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
Keep in mind that hard boiled eggs last up to 7 days in the refrigerator.