Double Dipping: Party Peril or Paranoia?

Double Dipping: Party Peril or Paranoia?

Food & Drink

Double Dipping: Party Peril or Paranoia?


By Cari Martens

Many of us remember the scene from Seinfeld when George is chastised for ‘double dipping’ at a party, i.e., dipping your chip into the dip for a second round after taking a bite of said chip.

With holiday parties on many of our agendas these days, we thought it might be a good time to investigate: Is double dipping really that bad, or just the paranoia of the germaphobe?

Answer: It’s really that bad.

Food science students at Clemson University examined the effects of double dipping using volunteers, some wheat crackers and several sample dips. They found that three to six double dips in one bowl transferred about 10,000 bacteria from the eaters’ mouths to the remaining dip. The research was published earlier this year in the Journal of Food Safety.

What it means is this: If you’re at a party and three to six fellow partiers double dip their Doritos or Pringles, any chip you dip may pick up at least 50 to 100 bacteria. Whether it makes you sick depends on how much bacteria you pick up, how many people are double dipping, and what kind of bacteria they have in their mouths. Need we mention H1N1?

In general, thicker sauces—cheese dips, chocolate dip, hummus—may be a little safer. In the Clemson study, salsa picked up the most bacteria. With dips that are runny, apparently, the germs can run more quickly into the dipl

When there’s a lot of double dipping going on, Clemson professor Paul L. Dawson says, ‘it’s like kissing everybody at the party.’

Only not as much fun.

Perhaps we should try to start a new trend: Thicker dips, smaller chips!

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