It’s no secret that double-dipping is a party foul. But chances, when you’re in good company with, say, your closest besties or S.O. for a night of Netflix and snacking, you all scoop freely and repeatedly into your communal bowl of healthy seven-layer dip. Hey, you’re practically family, so what’s a few germs? A lot, it turns out. According to a recent on-air experiment by the United Kingdom’s television series Food Unwrapped, your party platter basically doubles as a petri dish for norovirus (which causes gastrointestinal illness) and herpes simplex (cold sores)—so consider divvying the guac into individual bowls for your next binge-watching party.
To test the ick-factor of multi-dunking, co-host of Food Unwrapped, Matt Tebbutt, double-dipped in three favorites: sour cream, hummus, and taramasalata, The Sun reports. Researchers then took the samples to a lab to investigate, and the test revealed your worst snacking nightmare: The bacteria grew…a lot. The sour cream alone contained 100 times more bacteria two hours after the double-dip than a clean sample did. Yikes. And the situation worsens: If you’re planning to take the festivities outside, be mindful that, according to the Unwrapped experts, bacteria grows even more rapidly in steamy temps.
Sour cream contained 100 times more bacteria two hours after the double-dip than a clean sample did.
According to the researchers, even one drop of contaminated saliva can permeate an entire serving of dip. And the more watery the option, the more bacteria-laden it will be. “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,” Tebbutt explains on the show.
While this test was a limited, TV investigation and not a full-blown scientific study (meaning way more testing needs to take place for the hypothesis to be accepted), the results should serve as reason enough to implement some new ground rules for party etiquette. To avoid sending your guests home with unexpected “gifts” after your next gathering, consider adopting a one-dip-only policy. And, hey, since healthy protein-packed egg-white chips are now a thing, your buds won’t even mind the extra crunching.
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