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Information Update - Reminding Canadians of Egg Safety this Easter

Starting date:
March 24, 2016
Type of communication:
Information Update
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Identification number:

March 24, 2016
For immediate release

OTTAWA – If eggs are a part of your family's Easter celebrations, there are some important handling tips to remember when you're decorating, cooking or hiding them.

Egg Safety:

  • Shop carefully: Purchase refrigerated eggs at the end of your shopping trip. Check their best before date and inspect them to make sure they aren't dirty or cracked. Dangerous bacteria can enter a cracked egg.

  • Farm fresh eggs: Do not wash farm fresh eggs until you are ready to use them. Washing an egg can remove the protective "bloom" that prevents bacteria from entering eggs and keeps them fresh. The bloom is an almost-invisible coating that dries after a hen lays an egg. It seals pores on the shell to block bacteria and air from getting into the egg.

  • Keep eggs cold: Eggs stored at room temperature spoil more quickly than refrigerated ones. Keep store-bought eggs in the original carton in the body of the refrigerator.

  • Keep clean: Wash hands, utensils, cutting boards and counters carefully with soap and warm water before and after handling raw eggs. This helps avoid potential cross contamination and prevent the spread of foodborne illness.

Easter eggs:

If you hollow out egg shells by blowing out the egg through holes in the shell:

  • Wash eggs in hot water first and rinse them in a solution of 1 teaspoon chlorine bleach to ½ cup water.
  • Refrigerate the uncooked egg contents immediately and use within two to four days. You can freeze the contents for up to 4 months.

If you hard-boil eggs:

  • Cook eggs thoroughly in boiling water.
  • Cool eggs completely by immersing in cold tap water, and make sure they are kept cold before and after they are dyed.
  • Use a non-toxic colouring dye to decorate eggs.
  • Decorated eggs that have been left out for longer than two hours are not safe to eat and should be thrown away after Easter.

If you're having an Easter egg hunt, carefully consider where you hide your eggs. Avoid areas where the eggs might come into contact with pets, wild animals, birds, insects or chemicals.

Chocolate eggs:

For those who prefer the sweeter taste of chocolate, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Although chocolate is not usually associated with foodborne illness, it is best eaten within one year of production. Check for the "best before" date.

  • If you have food allergy concerns, be sure to read the label carefully for the presence of allergens such as peanuts or other nuts.

  • The white or grey film that develops on chocolate isn't a sign that it has gone bad. When the fats in chocolate separate from the cocoa mass, it results in something called "fat bloom," which may alter the chocolate's taste or texture slightly, but is perfectly safe to eat.

  • Remember, don't overdo it! Most chocolate is high in sugar and fat and is best consumed in moderation.

Egg Facts:

  • Egg taste is determined by a hen's overall diet and egg freshness, not on the breed of chicken or shell colour. All eggs contain virtually the same nutrients regardless of colour.

  • Fresh egg yolks stand up taller and are less likely to break when fried because of a thin transparent membrane that protects them. The older an egg is, the more this membrane weakens and thins, making the yolk more likely to break.

  • The colour of the yolk can vary from pale yellow to bright orange. This is the result of the foods a hen eats. Hens that eat marigold petals, corn, alfalfa, basil and other foods containing yellow pigments called xanthophyll are more likely to have darker yolks.

  • A blood spot found on an egg yolk is not a sign that the egg has been fertilized – it is often from a ruptured blood vessel that happens during the yolk formation. Similarly, eggs occasionally have "meat" spots. This is a small bit of tissue that has been captured in the egg. Meat spots are browner and firmer than blood spots. Eggs with blood or meat spots are safe to eat, but you may prefer to remove the spot with a spoon or knife.

  • Farm-fresh eggs have sometimes been fertilized by a rooster. This happens before an egg is laid, but there is no risk of a chick forming unless the egg is kept warm under a hen or in an incubator to allow a chick to grow. Fertilized eggs taste the same as other eggs, but can be identified once it is cracked if you see a "bullseye" on the yolk.

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For more information

  • Eggs (General facts on preparing and cooking eggs safely)