Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Double Dipping

A recent New York Times article noted that lots of dip gets consumed during the Superbowl. And a lot of dips do the consuming, some of whom double-dip. Personally, I think it's disgusting to put the same food item that was already in your mouth back into a communal food bowl. (Yet using chopsticks to pick food out of communal food dishes in Chinese restaurants doesn't bother me. Perhaps my brain considers it a "when in Rome" situation.) I'll do it when I'm sharing a dip-type food with my husband (Mr Minx and I have already shared plenty of bacteria over the years), but never when non-husband dippers are involved. It's as much not wanting to experience the germs of others as not feeling the need to share mine.

Some folks don't think it's a big deal. I'm pretty sure I have seen a certain someone commit the heinous deed in the past, and I made sure to avoid that particular diplike substance for the rest of the party (both the foodstuff and the double-dipper).

From the NY Times article:
The team of nine students instructed volunteers to take a bite of a wheat cracker and dip the cracker for three seconds into about a tablespoon of a test dip. They then repeated the process with new crackers, for a total of either three or six double dips per dip sample. The team then analyzed the remaining dip and counted the number of aerobic bacteria in it. They didn’t determine whether any of the bacteria were harmful, and didn’t count anaerobic bacteria, which are harder to culture, or viruses.

There were six test dips: sterile water with three different degrees of acidity, a commercial salsa, a cheese dip and chocolate syrup.

On average, the students found that three to six double dips transferred about 10,000 bacteria from the eater’s mouth to the remaining dip.

Each cracker picked up between one and two grams of dip. That means that sporadic double dipping in a cup of dip would transfer at least 50 to 100 bacteria from one mouth to another with every bite.

The kind of dip made a difference in a couple of ways. The more acidic water samples had somewhat fewer bacteria, and the numbers of bacteria declined with time. But the acidic salsa picked up higher initial numbers of bacteria than the cheese or chocolate, because it was runny. The thicker the dip, the more stuck to the chip, and so the fewer bacteria were left behind in the bowl.

Professor Dawson said that Timmy was essentially correct. “The way I would put it is, before you have some dip at a party, look around and ask yourself, would I be willing to kiss everyone here? Because you don’t know who might be double dipping, and those who do are sharing their saliva with you.”

So there you go. Unless you want to share saliva with everyone in the room, just say no to double dipping.

3 comments:

  1. No, no, NO to double-dipping!! Eww!

    Like you, I will double-dip with the husbandperson, for the same reason you cite. But other than that? Nononono. Not even with my mom.

    I wonder if me being a microbiologist has anything to do with it . . . hmm.

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  2. Ditto. Double dipping is only acceptable with someone whose germs you already share.

    I'm not the most fastidious person in the world, but that's just gross.

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  3. This reminds me of a recent conversation: while dating someone with whom I had shared saliva, at the least, I had forgotten my toothbrush when I stayed over at his house. He said I could use his, if I didn't mind; I didn't. G (you know who this is, Kathy) had a problem with it, so I would use his toothbrush any chance I had! ha ha

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