A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

Truths about double dipping: 5 ways to keep holiday party food safe

Person dipping chip in guacamole - Double dipping

Bacteria and viruses can easily spread from one person to another through double dipping.

At holiday parties and events, snacks like appetizers, chips and veggies are greats dishes that go hand-in-hand with your favorite dip, but what if someone were to dip, take a bite and dip again. Is it safe for you to eat?

“Did you just double dip that chip? That’s like putting your whole mouth right in the dip.” – Seinfeld, 1993

This quote from Seinfeld speaks the truth

Dr. Brady Didion, Marshfield Clinic Health System family medicine physician, said oral bacteria may spread faster through double dipping than dropping your food on the floor.

Didion said studies have shown bacteria and viruses have intense colonization abilities, but more than 90 percent of the bacteria is something your body can handle if you are healthy. However, this does not mean you should start double dipping and eating food off the floor.

In the book, “Did You Just Eat That?,” co-authors Paul Dawn and Brian Sheldon explain ways to avoid spreading illness through food, and share results from detailed studies on the five-second rule, double dipping and blowing out candles.

Sheldon said biting the chip and sticking it back in the dip is actually inoculating the dip with your oral bacteria. “Salsa actually had more bacteria transferred than the cheese fondue or chocolate dip [in our study],” he said.

Colds and the flu easily spread through saliva from one person to another inside the dip.

Even having an open container where people are talking can allow viruses to spread,” Didion said.

Didion recommends placing the snack table in a low-traffic area during your event, and making food without dips to avoid the spread of illnesses. He added that a funny sign about double dipping can be a respectful reminder for everyone to avoid double dipping.

Related article:

Drop the five-second rule for fallen food

One Response
  1. Dec 9, 2018

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