Easter Eggs & Dye: It's All Safe

By Ruth Kava — Apr 13, 2017
Here's a health question related to Sunday's Easter Egg Hunt: Once the kids have found the eggs that you've so carefully un-hidden, can they eat them? That's really an easy one — sure. But what you want to be careful about is cracked eggs. And here's why.
Easter Eggs and Bunny

Easter — spring is on the horizon as are family dinners and for the young ones, Easter egg dyeing and Easter egg hunts. The question then arises, once the kids have found the eggs that you've so carefully un-hidden, can you eat them?

That's really an easy one — sure. A hard boiled egg is a safe egg since the cooking process would kill any bacteria that might be present (which is  a very rare occurrence). And there's no problem with the dyes in those kits you buy. First, there's no problem because they're a safe, food-grade dye, and second there's no problem because you're not going to eat the shells, which is the part that's dyed.

What you want to be careful about is cracked eggs — especially if the eggs have been lying around outdoors for hours and the weather is warm. In that case, a crack in an egg can admit bacteria, and since eggs are chock full of nutrients, they're perfect incubators. So if you peel a dyed egg and see dye on the egg white, it likely means that the egg was cracked, and you should consider where it has been — and for how long — and use that one for decoration instead of dinner.

According to the USDA: "[t]he total time for hiding and hunting eggs should not exceed 2 hours. The "found" eggs must be washed, re-refrigerated and eaten within 7 days of cooking."

So don't hide those eggs too well, or help the kids find them. And of course if all else fails, there are always chocolate eggs!

If you want to go deep into the science of why natural and artificial flavors and colors have no difference at all in safety (except a few natural ones - you read that right - contain toxic ingredients) you can read, download for free or buy Natural And Artificial Flavors: What's The Difference?