Is Double-Dipping Food Bad for Your Health or Just Bad Manners?
November 25, 20153 min read
How many times have you contemplated double dipping? It's hard not to do considering you still have half a chip in your hand.
Some people don't even care if anyone else is looking, while others take a peek around, hope no one is watching them, and try to sneak their decision to dip in one more time. Others say no way to it, but does it really matter? In the Seinfeld episode, "The Implant," George Costanza double-dips a chip. An onlooker informs him that it's like he is putting his entire mouth in the dip by doing this.
Is that a true comparison? Can your mouth's bacteria actually get onto the chip and eventually land in the dip?
An undergraduate research team at Clemson University designed a series of experiments to discover exactly what happens when you double-dip.
Beginning with a cracker
To see how much bacteria gets into the dip, students compared bitten versus unbitten crackers. They measured just how much bacteria was transferred from the cracker to a cup of water. What they found was around 1,000 more bacteria per milliliter of water from the bitten crackers.
In another experiment, students added pH levels of typical food dips to the water. They tested for bacteria just after the bitten and unbitten crackers went into the water, and then again two hours later. What they found was that more acidic solutions lessened the bacteria present over time.
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And now the dip
The team of researchers executed the same two experiments with salsa, chocolate and cheese dips instead of water. They specifically used: All Natural Tostitos Chunky Hot Salsa (pH 4), Genuine Chocolate Flavor Hershey’s Syrup (pH 5.3) and Fritos Mild Cheddar Flavor Cheese Dip (pH 6.0).
Without double-dipping, no bacteria was found in the dips. But once they had been dipped, the salsa proved to have about five times more bacteria (1,000 bacteria/ml of dip) than chocolate and cheese dips (150-200 bacteria/ml of dip). After two hours, however, the bacterial numbers of the salsa dropped to nearly the same levels as both the chocolate and cheese.
Thickness has an effect. Salsa is less thick than chocolate and cheese dips. And the lower the viscosity allows for more of the bitten cracker to fall back into the dipping bowl. However, because salsa is more acidic, with time, it can kill some of that bacteria.
Is this something to freak out about?
Most of the bacteria in your mouth is harmless, but some of the bacteria isn't good. Pneumonic plague, tuberculosis, influenza virus, Legionnaires’ disease and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) have been found to spread through saliva. Coughing and sneezing aerosolizing up to 1,000 and 3,600 bacterial cells per minute makes people even more susceptible to catching something, since the germs end up on common surfaces like desks and doorknobs. Now you might understand why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing is pertinent for preventing “serious respiratory illnesses like influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).”
A person doesn't even have to be sick to pass germs, so if you pick up someone else's while dipping your chip in, you could get something you didn't sign up for.
And if you need another reason to take this seriously, remember the case of household cook Mary Mallon (Typhoid Mary), who gave typhoid to many families in 19th-century New England during food preparation. It's unsure if she was double-dipping or not, but it will certainly make you think twice before doing so.
Are you a double-dipper?
Source: Raw Story
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