Parents would be well advised to become well, "egg-sperts" before making some Easter plans, with eggs a main focus of most Easter celebrations.
So, moms and dads, here are some common sense measures that parents can take to make sure Easter stays fun and safe for everyone:
*Always buy eggs from a refrigerated case and keep them refrigerated before you boil them in preparation for decorating. Be sure to check the "Sell by" dates.
*When you boil your eggs, make sure the water is hot (185-190 degrees F). Cool your eggs in cold water or allow cooling slowly at room temperature.
*When shell eggs are hard-cooked, the protective coating is washed away, leaving open pores in the shell where harmful bacteria could enter. Be sure to refrigerate eggs within two hours of cooking and use them within a week.
*Don't eat or cook with cracked eggs or eggs that have been un-refrigerated for more than two hours.
*If you plan to eat the Easter eggs you decorate, be sure to use only food grade dye. (Some people make two sets of eggs - one for decorating and hiding, another for eating.)
*Make sure to wash (and re-wash) your hands, utensils, and work surfaces to keep bacteria from spreading.
*Hide eggs in places that are protected from dirt, pets, and other bacteria sources.
*Limit the hiding and hunting time for real eggs to two hours. Refrigerate them immediately if they are to be eaten.
*Eggs found hours later or the next day should be thrown out -- not eaten!
*Consider using plastic eggs instead of real eggs for Easter egg hunts.
Now, go ahead and have a happy, safe Easter!