Image: Chips and salsa
Liz Schultz  /  AP file
Just how bad is double dipping? "I like to say it’s like kissing everybody at the party," said Professor Paul L. Dawson, a food microbiologist at Clemson University.
updated 2/1/2008 6:27:28 PM ET 2008-02-01T23:27:28

Keep an eye on the salsa this Super Bowl Sunday: A researcher inspired by a famous “Seinfeld” episode has concluded that double dipping is just plain gross.

“That’s like putting your whole mouth right in the dip!” George Costanza was admonished on the show after he dipped a chip twice at a wake. That’s not too far off, said Clemson University professor Paul L. Dawson.

Last year the food microbiologist’s undergraduate students examined the effects of double dipping using volunteers, wheat crackers and several sample dips. They found that three to six double dips transferred about 10,000 bacteria from an eater’s mouth to the remaining dip sample.

“I was very surprised by the results,” Dawson said in a telephone interview Thursday. “I thought there would be very minimal transfer. I didn’t think we would be able to detect it.”

The professor said the students’ research didn’t get into the risk behind such a bacteria transfer, but they got the idea.

“I like to say it’s like kissing everybody at the party — if you’re double dipping, you’re putting some of your bacteria in that dip,” Dawson said.

The results of the research are scheduled to be published in the journal Food Safety within the next six months, he said.

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