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Egg Safety

How to Buy, Store and Cook Eggs for Easter or Anytime

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Hard-Boiled Eggs

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Stephanie Gallagher
Wondering if it's safe to eat those dyed Easter eggs, or if you are going to get salmonella from that egg salad that was sitting out for several hours at the picnic?

Here are some tips for handling and eating eggs safely:

  • When buying eggs, look for eggs that are clean, free of cracks and stored in a refrigerated case.

    If there is an expiration date or "sell by" date on the package (not required by law, but it is often there), purchase eggs before that date.

  • Although if salmonella is present, it will likely be found in the yolk rather than the white, it still isn't safe to eat egg whites raw.

    The exception: pasteurized egg products, such as liquid egg whites. Still, the USDA recommends that children, the elderly and pregnant women avoid eating all raw egg products.

  • At home, store eggs in the carton in the coldest part of the refrigerator -- not the door!

  • Eggs that are properly stored in their shells in the refrigerator can be safely eaten up to five weeks after purchase (provided they weren't purchased after the expiration date).

  • Do not leave raw eggs out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours (or one hour if it is 85 degrees or hotter outside). That is why I recommend you use warm water to bring the eggs to room temperature before hard-boiling.

  • Before coloring Easter eggs, wash your hands. After dying the hard-boiled eggs, return them to the refrigerator within 2 hours.

  • Hard-boiled eggs that have been properly refrigerated should be eaten within one week.

  • If you are hiding eggs for an Easter egg hunt and plan to eat them afterward, be sure the eggs have no cracks (that could allow bacteria to enter the egg). Hide them in places that are clean -- not on the ground, where pets might go, or other places that are dirty.

  • If an egg has bloody spots on the yolk, it's safe to eat.

  • If a hard-boiled egg has a greenish ring around the yolk, it just means it is overcooked. It is safe to eat.

  • If the white of an egg is cloudy, that means it is very fresh.
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