Colour eggs carefully this weekend, Health Canada advises
Last Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2007 | 3:31 PM ET
When tinting and painting Easter eggs this weekend, be mindful of some important food handling and preparation tips, Health Canada says.
"Eggs are occasionally contaminated with salmonella and other bacteria that can make you sick," the federal agency said in a release Thursday. "It is also possible to contaminate eggs with bacteria from other foods."
Consumers should be sure to buy refrigerated eggs with clean, uncracked shells. Eggs should be put in the fridge within two hours of being purchased, Health Canada advises. The agency also notes that it's best to store eggs in the coldest part of the fridge, near the back, in their original carton.
If you plan on eating the eggs you have decorated, hard boil them and cool them immediately in the fridge. Be sure to use a non-toxic colouring and store the eggs in the fridge before and after they've been decorated.
Eggs that have been out of the fridge for over two hours should not be eaten, the federal agency says.
People should also wash their hands carefully with soap and water to prevent the spread of bacteria.
Foods tainted with salmonella may not look or smell spoiled, but the bacteria can cause symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. In rare cases, the bacteria can kill people who are very young or elderly, or who have weakened immune systems.
Every year, 6,000 to 12,000 cases of salmonella illness are reported across Canada.