Double dipping chips and dip can spread all kinds of nasty bacteria and herpes simplex, according to food safety expert Jonathan France.
In the latest episode of British television show Food Unwrapped, the show’s co-host Matt Tebbutt shows how bacteria can easily be transferred from chips when they are double dipped.
Tebbutt visited a Mexican restaurant in Brighton to talk with the food safety expert about how germs and bacteria can spread at a restaurant.
France used a UV light to easily how just about everything around you contains lots of bacteria.
To demonstrate the process of double dipping, they used a small glass of water to represent dip and separate container water mixed with food coloring to represent saliva.
France dipped the chip in the container with the water and food dye then dipped the chip in the plain water to illustrate double dipping. When he dipped the chip with food coloring on it into the plain water, you could easily see the food coloring transfer to the plain water and mixing in. France explains this is what happens when double dipping, except that the food coloring is saliva that could contaminate the dip.
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While it may not seem like much, it does increase the chances of contracting nasty bacteria from double dipping. Aside from catching a cold from the contaminated dip, France mentions it is possible to catch a norovirus infection, Streptococcus,and herpes simplex (cold sores) from contaminated saliva that has reached the dip.
Which is the worst sauce for double dipping?
Microbiologists from the episode of Food Unwrapped said that thousands of organisms live in saliva could easily be transferred if you double dip.
In the show, they tested taramasalata, hummus and sour cream. According to their research, it turns out that runny dips can harbor and transfer the more bacteria than thicker ones.
In a laboratory test, show host Matt Tebbutt double dipped his chip in all three of the dips to see which would grow bacteria the fastest. The results: Sour cream grew 100 times more bacteria from double dipping than a sample that was uncontaminated. Hummus did not grow as much bacteria from double dipping because it was thicker.
While it seems like contract herpes simplex from double dipping is a stretch, it's easier to understand when you see the amount of bacteria that can be transferred if you double-dip.
If you’re skeptical about eating chips and dip with large groups of people it might be better to just pick a different appetizer to nibble. And if you’re at a table with runny sauces — like as sour cream or salsas — you may want to stay away if you noticed someone double dipping.
George Costanza talks double dipping on Seinfeld
George Costanza once received sage advice on double dipping from Timmy. "Double dipping is like putting your whole mouth right in the dip," Timmy said to George. "From now on, when you take a chip, just take one dip and end it."