After the Easter hunt, are eggs safe to eat?

Q: How can I make sure my Easter eggs are safe to eat after the hunt?

A: You don't have to give up your annual post-hunt egg salad or deviled eggs -- just make sure you treat them with caution.

Keep the eggs in the refrigerator until just before the hunt. When hiding the eggs, avoid hiding cracked eggs, which are easier for bacteria to contaminate. Choose hiding places free from dirt, pets and other bacteria.

Once all the eggs have been found, put the eggs back in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Eggs should be out of the fridge no more than two hours -- longer than that and they can become unsafe to eat. When the temperature is 85 degrees or higher, eggs should be out the refrigerator for less than 30 minutes. Eggs found under Easter baskets several hours (or days) later should be thrown out.

To make your hunt even safer, consider buying pasteurized shell eggs for your hunt. Pasteurized eggs are treated with heat to kill bacteria and viruses, and can stay out of the refrigerator four times as long as conventional eggs. You can also use plastic or wooden eggs to avoid all possibilities of food-borne illness, and, of course, that dreaded forgotten egg smell.