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Is Double Dipping Really Dangerous?

December 17, 2014

The Christmas season is edging ever closer and with that in mind, people are being encouraged to start thinking more seriously about their understanding of food safety.

With temperatures rising, it is essential to know how to keep yourself, and your family safe and healthy throughout the holiday season. This means ensuring that food is always stored, handled and transported with the highest level of care.

Of course, it’s worth recognising that the social situations we all experience during the holidays can expose us to health risks, too. For example, think about the party foods that are generally served at many holiday events such as dips. We’ve all heard that the practice of double-dipping is dangerous and unsanitary but most of us wonder – is it really that bad? Recent studies could help us to understand the facts about the matter.

Double the dip, double the bacteria

Food and nutrition scientists from Clemson University decided to analyse the effects of double dipping with the use of volunteers and a variety of dips. The study discovered that approximately 10,000 bacteria were transferred from volunteers’ mouths into the communal dip bowl when people double-dipped up to six times. Whether you would end up getting sick from exposure to this much foreign bacteria depends largely on the nature of the bacteria present.

Fortunately, it is possible to reduce your chances of falling victim to illness in situations such as this. Experts suggest that thicker dips are generally a safer bet for communal events as they provide a less welcoming environment for bacteria to multiply and spread. Options such as chocolate, cheese dip and hummus may be the safest option for your holiday celebrations.

Stay away from runny dips such as salsa as these provide a setting that is more conducive to the spread of bacteria. Furthermore, if you’re serving dips yourself, try providing smaller options that could reduce the chances of guests double-dipping in the first place.