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.