Five questions: Hunting safety

Easter is coming up, and with it, egg hunts and egg dying. Lori Wuellner, family consumer science agent at the Wyandotte County K-State Research and Extension Office, offers safety tips when it comes to preparing Easter eggs. Enlarge photo

April 1, 2010

Q: What Easter egg hunting risks are there when using real eggs?

A: When shell eggs are hard-cooked, the protective coating is washed away, leaving open pores in the shell where harmful bacteria could enter. Salmonella is most often the concern when dealing with eggs.

Q: What are some ways people can avoid some of those risks?

A: To decrease the risk of salmonella, cook eggs properly and keep hands clean so as to not cross-contaminate other foods. Make sure the eggs aren’t broken because cracked eggs could be contaminated. Properly cook the eggs and refrigerate promptly after eggs have cooled in ice-cold water.

Q: What types of areas should be avoided when hiding Easter eggs?

A: Choose your hiding places carefully. Avoid areas where the eggs might come into contact with dirt, pets, wild animal, birds, reptiles or lawn chemicals.

Q: Is it OK to eat the eggs that were found during an Easter egg hunt or eat eggs that have been dyed?

A: Yes, as long as the total time outside of refrigeration temperatures has not exceeded two hours, the eggs are intact (and there are no obvious cracks) in which bacteria could penetrate and as long as they were not hidden in the areas mentioned above.

Q: Are there any ways to color eggs naturally without using dyes?

A: This list of color sources is provided by the American Egg Board, which recommends adding one tablespoon of white vinegar for each cup of water:

Pink — fresh beets, cranberries, radishes or frozen raspberries

Orange — yellow onion skins

Light yellow — orange or lemon peels, carrot tops, celery seed or ground cumin

Yellow — ground tumeric

Green — spinach leaves

Green/gold — yellow delicious apple peels

Blue — canned blueberries or red cabbage leaves

Brown — strong brewed coffee

Brown/gold — dill seeds

Brown/orange — chili powder

Grey — purple or red grape juice or beet juice

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