Just over a week ago, families throughout the country and around the world celebrated the Christian holiday of Easter. Of course, chocolate and candy are big parts of this celebration in many, if not most, households, and many still include hard-boiled eggs as part of their traditions as well. In fact, coloring Easter eggs is a highly anticipated family event in a large number of American homes. These dyed eggs often find their way into Easter baskets and onto the buffet table on Easter Sunday, but waiting too long to eat them can lead to spoiled eggs, bacterial contamination, and foodborne illness.
Refrigeration is Key
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), hard-boiled eggs should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours. Temperatures between 40 and 140°F are considered the “danger zone.” At these temps, dangerous bacteria can grow and reproduce very quickly.
This means that it is not advisable to leave dyed eggs in the kids’ Easter baskets overnight, nor is it a good idea to leave hard-boiled eggs sitting on the food table all day long during the celebration. Once the eggs have been boiled, they should be allowed to come up to room temperature and then promptly refrigerated. If they are put in the refrigerator while they are still hot, the residual heat could result in other items in the fridge spoiling. The best place to store them is in the carton on an internal shelf that is not affected very much by opening and closing the refrigerator door.
Counting the Days
Eggs that have been peeled should be consumed the same day, but hard-boiled eggs with the shells still intact will remain safe and tasty in the refrigerator for about a week. Unfortunately, this is where many households lose track. If you opened the fridge this morning and saw a few brightly colored Easter eggs, you probably did the mental math: “Easter was last Sunday, so it’s been a little over a week.” This is all well and good until you realize that hard-boiled eggs are good in the refrigerator for about one week after they are cooked, not after the holiday itself. If you and your children colored the eggs prior to Easter, there is a good chance that your leftover eggs are now spoiled or contaminated with dangerous bacteria.
Speak With an Illinois Food Poisoning Attorney
If you have contracted a foodborne illness that you think was related to contaminated food at an Easter celebration, a Chicago food poisoning lawyer can help you understand your available options. Call Newland & Newland LLP at 312-981-0409 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today.