Baby Chicks and Eggs: Keep Food Safety in Mind

Young children are at a higher risk of developing a foodborne illness. Be sure to keep them safe when dying Easter eggs or handling baby chicks during the holiday season.
Baby Chicks and Eggs: Keep Food Safety in Mind - News

Updated: March 9, 2018

Baby Chicks and Eggs: Keep Food Safety in Mind

Egg Salad by Whit Andrews on Licensed by CC BY 2.0

A common tradition for those that celebrate Easter, involves decorating eggs, Easter egg hunts and baby chicks. If your family enjoys these activities, keep a few food safety tips in mind for an illness free holiday.

  1. Purchase eggs from a refrigerated case.
  2. Buy eggs that are clean and free from cracks as these may cause contamination.
  3. Check the expiration date or sell by date. Do not buy out-of-date eggs.
  4. Store eggs in their original container on a shelf in the refrigerator, not the door. This will assure eggs remain at a temperature of 40° F or lower.
  5. For best quality use refrigerated eggs in shells within three weeks after bringing them home.
  6. Hard-boiled eggs will not keep as long as raw eggs, so play it safe and use leftover Easter eggs within one week of cooking.
  7. Wash hands thoroughly, and supervise children’s handwashing, before and after handling uncooked eggs.
  8. Wash utensils, equipment and work surfaces with hot, soapy water after they contact raw eggs.
  9. Consider making two batches of Easter eggs – one for hiding or displaying and one for eating. If you do eat eggs from the hunt, throw out any that are cracked, dirty or that were exposed to pets or other animals.
  10. Eggs should not go unrefrigerated for more than two hours; that means getting up early to hide eggs.
  11. When decorating, use only food-grade dyes. Dye eggs in warm water so the eggs do not absorb the dye.
  12. Never eat raw eggs or products containing raw eggs.

If purchasing baby chicks for Easter, remember that live poultry (even those cute baby chicks) that appear healthy and clean can still carry Salmonella bacteria that can cause illness. Good handwashing is essential after handling chicks to avoid issues of cross-contamination from hands. It is especially important for adults to supervise young children when they are around the chick. Children love to cuddle, pet and kiss the baby chick -- all of which exposes them to the bacteria. Additionally, supervised handwashing after handling the chick is critical. Proper handwashing includes wetting hands and applying soap. Rub hands together, creating a good lather and scrubbing for at least 20 seconds, the time it takes to sing your ABC’s. Rinse under running water and dry with a paper towel. Young children are at an increased risk of developing an infection as their immune system is still maturing.


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