As Easter is just around the corner it is worth pausing to review the possible dangers that could be associated with activities around the holiday. Although the biggest likely threat is over-indulgence in chocolate it is worth just checking that you have reviewed your risk assessments around any additional activities that may be on offer.
The majority of events will be focused around creating excitement, outdoor activity and providing tasty treats for young and old, mishaps can and do happen!
Although the majority of eggs being consumed are chocolate, standard eggs are often used for activities. With the risk of Salmonella food poisoning at the forefront of egg safety, food safety needs to be considered:
- Ensure that fresh eggs are purchased for either eating or decorative purposes. Purchasing of Lion Marked eggs will ensure that the hens laying the eggs would have been vaccinated against Salmonella Enteritidis.
- Personal hygiene protocols need to be put in place to ensure that good hand hygiene is being followed. Always wash your hands before and after handling raw eggs. The following need to be made available at the wash hand basins: Hot and cold running water, antibacterial hand soap, means of hand drying.
- Eggs are in effect a raw product and need to be stored under refrigerated conditions. Ideally temperatures of between o and 8 deg.C would suffice.
- Work surfaces and equipment used must be thoroughly cleaned.
- Keep a close eye of the shelf life of the eggs which you are purchasing and using. The quality of eggs cannot be guaranteed after their best before date.
- Always ensure that eggs are properly cooked for consumption purposes. If refrigerated, boiled eggs should be consumed within 2 hours after removal from fridge.
- Remember that some children have nut allergies that are very serious. Check with parents before offering any chocolate bunnies or other goodies that may nuts or other allergens.
- Also, ensure that those who take part in the festivities do not have any intolerance's to egg and dairy products.
Decoration of Easter Eggs:
Decorating and colouring of Easter Eggs are always a highlight and to ensure that fun is had by all, apply good hand washing techniques. Check that the shell of the egg is intact and not cracked…this is a easy way for bacteria to be transferred onto skin and surfaces…do not use cracked eggs and do not consume!
Choosing the correct dye for your Easter egg hunt:
It is important that only food grade colouring and dyes are used for decorating of eggs. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before use.
Child safety and supervision:
For those who are planning a Easter egg hunt in a commercial setting, make sure that those responsible for supervision have completed a basic Disclosure Check (formerly called CRB) .
Before hiding your Easter eggs, walk through the area and remove hazards such as garden tools, hoses, chemicals and any choking hazards. Create boundaries to keep children from wandering too far. Hide eggs away from areas that could have come into contact with wild animals, birds, or lawn chemicals.
For indoor egg hunts, do not hide eggs near power outlets, hard to reach areas, near glass or other breakables or dangerous spots.
If you are going to be outside for long periods for an Easter egg hunt or any other outdoor games, remember to apply sunscreen. Also, be ware of the threat of too much alcohol and dehydration in the sunshine.
Lastly, it would be good to have all these potential hazards identified in a risk assessment which would in no doubt keep all concerned safe.
From all of us at the CSC, may we wish you safe and enjoyable Easter.