Double-Dipping Is Not Okay. But What About Flipping And Dipping?

We've all been there. You're out with friends or at a gathering, happily partaking in a bowl of salty chips and fresh tomato salsa that's been put out when all of a sudden someone commits the ultimate party foul: double-dipping. Mega eww. It's no secret that dunking something you've already taken a bite out of back into the communal dip can spread germs — and is just pretty ick. 

Research has all but proven that double-dipping is downright dirty. A 2009 study by Clemson University published in the Journal of Food Safety found high amounts of bacteria present in dips when already-bitten snacks were dipped in. Of the three options often tested — salsa, chocolate syrup, and cheese sauce — salsa was actually the biggest culprit, harboring five times more bacteria than the other dips, according to Scientific American

The higher amount of bacteria found in salsa can be largely explained by the fact that it's not as consistent as the other dips with large pieces able to slide off chips and back into the bowl — and thus, producing more bacteria. 

But, what about flipping and dipping? As in, flipping a chip or cracker around after you've taken a bite in order to get a second scoop with the untouched part. It turns out, that isn't the most sanitary method either.

Flipping and dipping isn't any better

Most people appreciate that the act of double-dipping is bad. But, taking a bite and then flipping your snack around before taking another scoop will help keep germs from spreading into the dip ... right? Not so fast. Although few studies have been conducted on the amount of bacteria present in dips after flipping and dipping, the general consensus is that this dunking method can breed germs just the same, according to McGill University. That's because germs from your hands can also be transferred to the chip or cracker, which, in turn, can make their way into the dip. 

According to UofL Health, hands may harbor between 10,000 and 10 million bacteria. What's more, these germs are able to survive for up to three hours, which makes for a pretty good reason why you should always wash your hands before you eat. And unless you can guarantee that everyone who's diving into the spreads has also washed their hands — flipping and dipping is also a major no-no.

Just grab a separate plate instead

Unless you want your snack to feature an unappetizing side of germs, your best bet is to grab a separate bowl or plate (and provide the option for guests, too). If there aren't any extras available, politely ask your waiter if you're at a restaurant, or the host of the party if you're at a more intimate gathering. Just make sure you grab a good spoonful or two of the spread the first go around in case you don't want to go back for seconds in the event that someone has double-dipped — or flipped and dipped.

If you're hosting your own party, consider putting out snack bowls and small plates next to the dips to encourage this more sanitary sharing method. You could also briefly mention to your guests that you've done so in order to encourage attendees to be mindful of proper dipping etiquette. This way, everyone can enjoy a fun-filled and germ-free gathering full of veggie platters with ranch dressing and chips with chunky salsa, vegan cashew queso, or zesty guacamole.