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The annual ritual of dying eggs is in full swing as millions prepare for Easter Sunday. Here are a few precautions everyone should take to ensure a safe holiday:

When choosing eggs to color, be sure none are cracked since that’s a doorway for bacteria to enter. Eggs also should be stored in the refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit in their original container rather than on the refrigerator door, where temperatures can increase because of frequent openings.

While it may seem wasteful, many healthcare professionals recommend that you avoid eating the eggs that have been dyed specifically for hiding. But if you do plan on eating the decorated eggs, follow these precautions:

  • Wash and rinse your hands with hot soapy water before and after handling the eggs at any time since they can be contaminated with salmonella.
  • Only use food-grade dyes found in most grocery stores or homemade dyes made from natural food products.
  • If you’re having an Easter egg hunt, choose hiding places carefully to avoid areas that they may come in contact with pets, wild animals, birds, reptiles, insects or lawn chemicals. Also avoid placing them in direct sunlight.
  • Never eat eggs that have been out of the refrigerator for more than two hours.
  • Refrigerate hard-cooked eggs in their shells and use them within one week.

If you’re trying to counterbalance the chocolate bunnies with a little nutrition, remember that your eggs are a powerful superfood. Rich in high-quality protein, one egg is the equivalent of 1 ounce of protein. Containing just 75 calories, eggs have no carbs and are packed with vitamins and minerals.

By following just a few precautions, you can have a safe and happy Easter celebration.

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