MCALLEN - This Easter, the city of McAllen is working to keep the public safe from illnesses caused by tainted cascarones.
Cascarones are hollowed out eggs, filled with confetti and, at times, glitter. They are a popular item many people include in their Easter celebrations. While some people make their cascarones, others buy them from roadside vendors.
Uvaldo Viasana is selling cascarones for the first time this year. The father of four explained why he set up shop on along a busy McAllen street.
"This is a little extra money to take home," Viasana said. "Yes, this is extra money I can take for my family, and kids to help me more."
Viasana does not have a permit to sell cascarones in McAllen. Permits are required to sell the popular Easter item.
McAllen's Health Director Josh Ramirez tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS the city forces vendors to buy permits so the city can ensure the cascarones are free of potentially dangerous bacteria.
Ramirez says if the shells are not cleaned correctly, they could cause salmonella or E. coli infections.
Viasana says his customers have nothing to worry about.
"They've told me they wash them, they dry them and they leave them clean so they don't have anything left," says Viasana. "They clean them. They wash them with Clorox and they paint them. That's how they're made."
Regardless, Ramirez says vendors caught selling cascarones without a permit could face fines of up to a thousand dollars. He says his office will be searching for non-authorized cascarones vendors throughout the holy weekend.