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Is it safe to eat painted easter eggs? An expert weighs in

With Easter approaching, you might be wondering if it’s safe to eat painted Easter Eggs.

It is safe to eat painted easter eggs as long as no heavy paints are used. Kids markers, which are formulated to be non-toxic, special egg dyes, watercolors and finger paints are all safe to use according to the Netherlands Nutrition centre. You should avoid heavy paints like interior paints, wall paint, or car paint.

I’ve asked a European national nutrition centre and a well-known paint brand for some clarity. Let’s find out what they said!

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Can you eat hard-boiled eggs that have been painted?

Eggs allow small amounts of paint through its eggshell because it’s porous. This is why there are special dyes you can use to decorate hard-boiled Easter eggs. It’s also possible to decorate eggs using (kids) felt markers, egg markers, watercolors and finger paints. After using these paints or dyes you can safely consume the eggs.

blue yellow and pink easter eggs on gray egg tray
Photo by Polina Zimmerman on

According to the Netherlands Nutrition Centre, the egg will often take up the dye, but this amount is so little that it’s not harmful to one’s health (also not harmful to children’s health).

Paints that render painted easter eggs unedible are any heavy paints like car paint, wall paint, interior paint, or any paint that’s designed to withstand outdoor temperatures. Clearly, these paints are harmful to one’s health.

What is the Netherlands Nutrition centre?

The Netherlands Nutrition Centre seeks to explain the relevance of scientific knowledge about healthy, safe and sustainable food. It is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Dutch Ministry of Public Health, Welfare & Sport and is a leading authority on Nutrition.

Are European food safety standards the same as in the US?

The European food safety standards appear to be a bit stricter than the US. The main difference is that in Europe, additives (such as dyes) are approved if they are proven to be non-harmful whereas, in the US, additives are innocent until proven otherwise. Source: Range Me.

So what about acrylic paints? I asked one of the leading brands in Acrylic paints to answer this question.

colored eggs and polka dots on white textile

Is acrylic paint safe to use on Easter Eggs?

This is what Royal Talens, who owns the famous Amsterdam Acrylics brand, said about consuming eggs that have been painted with their acrylics:

”During the development of the Amsterdam acrylic paints applying the paints onto foods wasn’t taken into account. Even though acrylic paints may not seem to penetrate the eggshell we can’t guarantee non of the ingredients will. You can use the paint on the eggs but we don’t recommend consuming the egg afterwards.”

So according to Royal Talens Amsterdam Acrylic paint, it’s not safe to eat Easter eggs that have been painted with acrylics.

Examples of paints that are safe to use on hard-boiled Easter eggs

Use one of the following paints to paint eggs that can be safely consumed:

1. Wilton Food Dye

Simply add some drops of food dye to a palette and add some water. Now you can safely paint your Easter eggs! You can also use vodka or alcohol instead of water. Alcohol quickly evaporates leaving only the dye on the egg. But maybe use water when you do this with your kids ;)

I specifically choose the Wilton Gel food colors because they come in classic Easter pastel colors! Click the picture to shop.

2. Watercolor

According to Nutrition centres, watercolor can be used for easter eggs. I love using Winsor and Newton watercolors, but the non-toxic Neliblu watercolors are a great kids alternative.

Tap the pictures to shop.

3. Food markers

If you really want to keep things simple buy food markers. These are often used on cakes but are great to use on easter eggs as well.

Click the picture to shop!

4. Egg dye tablets

Pretty much any supermarket will carry the famous egg dye tablets. Simply dissolve a tablet into water, add some vinegar to make sure the paint sticks better on the egg, and let your egg soak in it for a given amount of time. Et voila, an evenly coated easter egg!

The product above is great because it’s a natural egg dye. It’s vegan, GMO-free, and gluten-free. Click the picture to shop!

5. Finger paints

Get those finger paints and start painting eggs. Since its hard to hold an egg when painting it you might as well ditch the brushes and use your fingers!

The product above is non-toxic, environmentally friendly and overall fun to use! Click the picture to shop.

Are dyed Easter eggs that are sold in supermarkets safe to eat?

You can safely eat dyed Easter eggs that are sold in supermarkets. Before an edible product is sold to customers, it has to go through strict inspection and follow strict standards. Here you can find all of these requirements.

red orange and green printed eggs screenshot
Photo by Boris Manev on

If you are ready to go and paint some Easter eggs, here is an article that tells you how to paint easter eggs with acrylic paint (yes, faux Easter eggs that is!) and here are 11 trendy Easter egg designs for 2022 you might like.

Happy Easter Egg painting!

♡ Laura

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