Egg safety refresher a rite of spring

Posted March 28, 2013 at 10:01 am

Celebrations associated with Easter and the spring season usually involve eggs in some way or another.

But with these festivities, it is important to be aware of egg food safety according to Christeena Haynes, nutrition and health education specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture makes the following recommendations on buying, keeping and preparing eggs:

•When buying eggs, get them from a refrigerated case, before the expiration date on the carton.

•Select eggs that look clean and uncracked.

•After leaving the grocery store, take the eggs straight home and refrigerate them immediately.

•Store eggs in their original carton in the main part of the refrigerator, instead of the door.

•Make sure the temperature in the refrigerator is at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

•Eggs should be used within three to five weeks from the date they were purchased.

•When preparing raw eggs, remember to wash your hands, as well as the surfaces and cooking utensils used, with hot soapy water, in order to prevent cross- contamination.

•Raw or cooked eggs should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours.

“When decorating eggs, hard-cook them and use food grade dye to color them if you intend to eat them,” said Haynes.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture makes the following recommendations on hiding, keeping and eating eggs:

•During Easter egg hunts, hide eggs away from animals, dirt and other sources of bacteria.

•Throw away any eggs that have cracked shells, because bacteria could get into the egg and contaminate it.

•Keep eggs in the refrigerator until right before the hunt and put them back in the refrigerator right after the hunt.

•Make sure the eggs have not been at room temperature for longer than two hours total.

•Consume hard-cooked eggs in their shells within a week of cooking, and egg dishes, like deviled eggs, within three to four days.