Easter can be a time for fun, great food, candy, little toys, and Easter egg hunts. However, certain safety issues arise each Easter. Specifically, from a food safety standpoint, Easter can be the single most dangerous holiday. To help ensure a safe Easter for all Texans this year, follow the safety tips provided below.
Candy & Toy Safety
Easter baskets are a big part of Easter. However, certain gifts inside these baskets may create safety hazards. To prevent choking, the University of Texas at San Antonio Police Department recommends refraining from putting the following candy and food in Easter baskets: (1) hard, round candy; (2) thick and/or sticky candy; (3) candy with nuts; (4) caramel; (5) sour candy; and (6) jaw breakers. Since children’s airways are higher and narrower than an adult’s, these candies can create a choking hazard.
Along those same lines, make sure that all Easter toys and dolls are free of choking hazards before placing them inside any Easter basket. In addition, as the fake grass often used in Easter baskets is not easily digestible, it is important to keep it away from young children. Finally, some children have nut allergies that are very serious, so be sure to check with parents before offering chocolate bunnies or other candies that may contain nuts. To protect those children with peanut allergies, be careful to read the label of contents of any chocolate included in the baskets. Even though many packages read “pure chocolate,” the chocolate may have been in contact with nuts or peanuts during their preparation or packaging.
Many Easter celebrations involve Easter egg hunts. Although eggs are nutritious and a big part of this holiday celebration, it is important to remember that unbroken, clean, fresh shell eggs may contain Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. In order to ensure that your children remain safe this Easter there are some important safe handling methods to remember when preparing, decorating, cooking or hiding Easter eggs.
First, when purchasing your eggs, always purchase from a refrigerated case. In addition, don’t buy out-of-date eggs and be sure to choose eggs with clean and uncracked shells. Eggs should be refrigerated as soon as possible after purchase. Once you bring your eggs home, they should be kept in their carton and placed in the coldest part of the refrigerator, not in the door. Raw in-shell eggs can be kept in the refrigerator a maximum of three to five weeks.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers the following tips for Easter eggs:
• Decorating Eggs: After hard cooking the eggs, they should be dyed and return to the refrigerator within two hours. If you are planning on eating the eggs you color, use food-safe coloring only. As with all foods, it important to keep everything clean. All utensils, countertops and other surfaces that eggs come in contact with must be washed. That also includes washing your hands thoroughly with hot water and soap before handling the eggs.
• Blowing out eggshells: If you hollow out eggshells by blowing the raw egg through holes in the shell prior to decorating, it is important follow certain safety tips since some raw eggs contain Salmonella. First, you should only use uncracked pasteurized shells eggs that have been kept refrigerated. Next, to destroy the bacteria that may be on surface of the egg, wash the egg in hot water and then rinse in a solution of one-teaspoon chlorine bleach per half cup of water. Finally, if you plan to use the raw eggs that have been blown out of their shells, refrigerate them and use within 2 to 4 days.
• Hunting Eggs: The USDA advises against using hard cooked eggs that have been lying on the ground for Easter egg hunts. These eggs can pick up bacteria, especially if the shells get cracked. If the shells do crack, bacteria can contaminate the inside of the eggs. Additionally, if you are hiding eggs outside, you should avoid areas with dirt or moisture, and make sure they are in locations that pets or animals do not frequent. The hiding and hunting time should not exceed 2 hours. Lastly, all “found” eggs must be washed, re-refrigerated and eaten within 7 days of cooking.
Another way to ensure extra safety is to use one set of eggs for decorating and hunting, and another for eating. To be really safe, you could also plastic eggs for your Easter egg hunt instead of real ones.
We hope that no child is injured this Easter, but if your child suffers from a food borne illness or other injury this Easter as a result of unsafe toys or improperly labeled food and candy, contact the San Antonio personal injury attorneys at Carabin & Shaw today. Our hardworking lawyers are available to answer your questions and assist you with filing your claim. To schedule a free initial consultation, call Carabin & Shaw toll free at (800) 862-1260 or contact the law firm through our website.
Easter Safety Tips, The University of Texas at San Antonio Police Department
Egg Products Preparation Fact Sheet, United States Department of Agriculture