Changed on: 08.04.2019

An average-sized egg (60g) has about 85 kcal, 7 g fat and 8 g of protein. The egg white has particularly high biological quality. This means that the protein in eggs can be easily converted into the body’s own protein. Additionally, the fat of the egg yolk has a favourable fatty acid pattern for the human body. Two thirds of the fats contained in an egg consist of mono- and polysaturated fatty acids. However, this share strongly depends on what the chickens are fed. Eggs are also rich in vitamins (especially vitamin A, E, vitamin B2, folic acid and biotin) and minerals (zinc and especially iron) and are one of the few sources of vitamin D.

Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs

Colored eggs in egg carton
Gefärbte Eier

Easter eggs must have an intact shell, must not contain any banned chemical residues and must be of undiminished flavour and smell. 

Easter eggs that are on sale as pre-packed food must carry the following labelling in accordance to the Austrian Regulation on Food Labelling, Federal Law Gazette No. 72/1993:

  • an objective term, such as "Easter eggs, dyed and boiled" for example 
  • information on the manufacturer or marketer including their address 
  • net quantity, the number of eggs would be enough in this case  
  • minimum shelf life 
  • batch identification only if the shelf life is not given to the exact day 
  • storage conditions, if they are essential for the product’s shelf life  
  • list of ingredients, including colours and coating agents; these must be featured with category name (colour, coating agent) and their E number or the additive name

A complete list of colours authorised for painting and dyeing eggs can be found in Annex I of the Austrian Regulation of Colorants , Federal Law Gazette No. 541/1996. These colours have been tested for this purpose (food) and have been authorised for the entire EU.

Organic Easter Eggs

Easter eggs from organic farming sources are subject to much stricter rules with regards to colorants. The Austrian government published a decree entitled "Traditionelles Färben der Schale gekochter Eier gemäß Artikel 27 Abs. 4" (traditional dyeing of the shells of boiled eggs in accordance with Art. 27 para. 4) (Decree GZ BMGFJ – 75340/0008-II/B/7/2009) following the coming into effect of Council Regulation (EC) No. 834/2007 on organic products. According to this decree, the colours used must come primarily from natural fruit or vegetable juices or other plant extracts (preferably organic).

Moreover, the list includes the following colours and additives:

  • Curcumin (E 100 – from yellowroot)
  • Cochineal (Carminic acid E 120 – from the cochineal Coccus Cacti) 
  • Indigo carmine (E 132 – only in its natural form)
  • Lutein (E 161b – from egg yolk, marigolds or palm oil)
  • Anthocyanin (E 163 – from grapes, elderflower, red cabbage and cranberries)
  • Betanin (Beetroot red – from red beet)
  • Annatto (Bixin E 160 b – watery extracts from the seeds of the achiote tree)
  • Talcum (E 553 b – fine, powdery form of the mineral talc)
  • Iron oxides and iron hydroxides (mineral pigments – limited until 31.12.2013) 
  • Coating agents such as bee’s wax, cellulose, copal (tree resin), and shellac (resin-like waste product secreted by the female lac bug Kerria lacca)

The timeframe for the production of dyed organic eggs is limited to the customary period around Easter per decree. The general regulations of the Austrian Food and Consumer Protection Act on misrepresentation also apply to Easter eggs.

Shelf life

Shelf life

Boiled and dyed eggs keep for four weeks at room temperature, six weeks when refrigerated and are harmless from a bacteriological perspective. However, this only holds when fresh, undiminished eggs are used.

To find out whether a raw egg is still fresh, put the egg into cold water. The older the egg, the lower its density, as its air chamber expands during storage. If the egg sinks and remains flat on the bottom of the water container it is fresh. Older eggs float in the water and should be used as soon as possible. Be careful if the egg floats on the surface or the rounded end comes out of the water. In this case, the egg is not considered fit for consumption anymore.

A blue-green tinge at the area between the egg white and yolk in a boiled egg does not mean that the egg is old: it only shows that the egg has been cooked for a longer period of time. This change in colour is caused by the yolk releasing iron and the egg white releasing sulphur. The two elements react and become iron sulphide, creating this coloured ring. This colouring is harmless and the egg can be eaten safely.

Beware of Germs

Beware of Germs

Eggs should always be cooked properly. This prevents potential infections from salmonella. Do not hold the eggs under cold water after boiling: this can lead to germs entering the eggs through the cold water, causing them to spoil early. Eggs that have been held under cold water should be eaten within two days. It is a myth that the cold water helps to peel hard-boiled eggs more easily. This depends on the age of the egg – the older the egg, the easier it can be peeled.

Tips on blowing out an egg

  • The eggs should be fresh and clean (clean in lukewarm water with a drop of washing-up liquid) 
  • Try to avoid direct contact with your mouth: use tools such as thin straws or miniature bellows 
  • Clean eggs on the inside and outside to remove any remaining raw egg using lukewarm water and a drop of washing-up liquid before painting/dyeing them 
  • Clean hands thoroughly with warm water and soap after blowing out the eggs