Friends eating snacks at party. Photo: Trinette Reed (Getty)
“That’s like putting your whole mouth right in the dip!”
It turns out that dude from Seinfeld who was so butthurt by George double dipping at a funeral had every right to be pissed. Microbiologists have discovered that thousands of organisms live in tiny amounts of saliva. That means when someone double dips, the bacteria can transfer and multiply.
So what, you say? Well, for starters, the runnier the sauce, the easier it is for bacteria to expand. If you’re a lover of sour cream, for example, you’re probably going to want to bring your own stash to your next bash. After double dipping a “crisp,” researchers found there was “more than 100 times more bacteria in the pot of sour cream than an uncontaminated sample” just two hours later.
If you’re a hummus fan, however, there’s a silver lining. There was little to no bacteria growth in the thick samples used in the study. Researchers believe it all comes down to how thick your dip is.
“If you are dip sharing, it’s the runniest dips you have to be aware of as they are more likely to drip back into the tub after they have been in your mouth, hence more bacteria,” presenter Matt Tebbutt said.
Meanwhile, food safety expert Jonathan France said, “if someone has a virus such as norovirus, streptococcus, or herpes simplex, you may catch their infection even if only a small amount of their saliva has contaminated a party dip.”
It comes down to three things, ladies and gents: whether or not you’re sharing dips with other people, if said dips are thick and, of course, your friends’ herpes statuses. Best of luck with that awkward conversation.