Easter Eggs and Your Health

This time of year means egg hunts and coloring eggs for those with young children. The
Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department’s Environmental Health section has a few tips so you can
have fun and still be safe and healthy.

When you buy eggs from the grocery store, open the carton to make sure they are clean and
not cracked. Store immediately when you get home in the refrigerator and make sure it is set at
41-degrees or below. Keep the eggs in their carton and use them within 3 weeks for best quality.

Cook your eggs to hard boiled by placing them directly from the refrigerator into a pot of already
boiling water. Then lower the heat to a slow simmer and cook for 11 minutes. Remove them
from the water and let them air dry for 5 minutes, then put back into the refrigerator. To make
them easier to peel, chill in the refrigerator overnight, and then peel them under cool running
water. Hard boiled eggs – in the shell or peeled – should be eaten within 7 days and stored in the
refrigerator. Never leave cooked eggs out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours.

When dyeing eggs, make sure to use a food-grade dye or food coloring. Make sure you and
your children wash your hands before coloring the eggs, as before any kind of food preparation.

Use plastic eggs for egg hunts outdoors if you can. If you use hard-boiled ones, throw them
away afterward – it is not recommended to eat them due to bacteria and viruses on the shells
that can be transferred to the edible part of the egg.

“Eggs can contain salmonella, a bacteria that is a common cause of food poisoning,” said Nicole
Needs, Environmental Health director. “Most people infected have symptoms of diarrhea, fever,
abdominal cramps and vomiting 12 to 72 hours after consuming the food.”

The symptoms usually last 4 to 7 days, and most will get better without treatment. Certain
people are at greater risk for severe illness including children, older adults, pregnant women
and those with weakened immune systems and should consult their healthcare provider if they
are having severe symptoms.

Learn more about egg safety and foodborne illness by visiting