Food Habits to Break to Prevent the Spread of Germs

(CNN) — Double dippers listen up! You’re responsible for the spread of bacteria. Not all germs are dangerous, but these tiny critters are everywhere, including on our food.

Researchers at Clemson University set out to see how safe some of our food habits are.


Urban legend says you can eat food dropped on the floor if you pick it up in under five seconds. The researchers, however, say there’s no safe amount of time for food to be on the floor.

If you’ve swatted away someone’s hand as they reach for a double dip, you’re helping prevent the spread of germs. It won’t transmit germs, but researchers found high levels of mouth bacteria after the second dip.

Blowing out candles on a cake is kind of a gross birthday tradition. Researchers found an increase in bacteria of nearly fourteen thousand percent!

Oh, and the lemon you ordered with your water might be a germ haven. Researchers found that wet lemons picked up one hundred percent of hand bacteria.

A bit of good news: sharing popcorn at the movies carries a low risk of bacteria transmission.

So what can you do besides get grossed out? Most of the bacteria our food comes in contact with is relatively harmless. But be aware of how you – and the people around you – handle the food you eat. Don’t eat around sick people and try to avoid eating off the floor.

For one more bonus tip on food safety, watch the video above.

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