Scientists Officially Prove That Double-Dipping Is Gross

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It’s holiday party season, which means it’s also cold and flu season. But will all these things collide at your company party's snack table?

Unlike George Costanza, you probably already knew that double-dipping was gross—and now, science confirms it. According to Scientific American, researchers at Clemson University once examined whether or not double-dipping actually increased the amount of bacteria in the dip. Could your germs really migrate onto a chip and into a bowl of communal party salsa? And would different dips show varying results?

Since our mouths aren’t exactly the cleanest things in the world, some of the scientists’ findings weren’t too shocking. Published a few years back in the Journal of Food Safety, the experiment found that cups of water that had been dipped into by bitten crackers between three and six times had about 1000 more bacteria per milliliter than the cups that had made contact with whole crackers. In a subsequent experiment, they repeated the dipping, but swapped the ordinary water out with solutions that had pH levels similar to food dips. The more acidic the solution, the lower the bacterial numbers tended to be hours later.

Unsurprisingly, bacteria numbers were much lower in non-double-dipped salsa, chocolate, and cheese dips. However, salsa that had been double-dipped took on about five times more bacteria than double-dipped chocolate or cheese. Researchers said this might be because salsa is thinner than chocolate and cheese, and might drip off the cracker and fall back into the bowl—carrying the eater's mouth bacteria along with it. Nevertheless, the salsa’s acidity caused its bacterial content to eventually drop to the same levels as its party snack peers.

Bottom line? Think twice about before dunking a chip twice at your next office shindig—and hope that others are being just as considerate.

[h/t Scientific American]