Sharing food is a minefield. There are so many unspoken rules around canapés, grab bags and sharing platters which makes it really dangerous territory to navigate. Of course, there are grey areas; how long do you wait before you claim the last chicken wing? Is the person holding the popcorn automatically responsible for fair distribution throughout the film? Do you put salt on all the chips even though the person you’re sharing with isn’t a fan?
It’s a stressful affair.
Nevertheless, there is one particular area that is as black and white as an Oreo. Double dipping. It’s very simple, people. Just don’t do it. It’s not okay.
Some of you might think that’s a bit much. But a recent study by Harvard Univeristy’s Healthbeat journal has found evidence that double dipping does in fact spread germs.
In the Journal of Food Safety, Dr Robert Shmerling describes how the amount of bacteria in dips majorly increased after someone bit into a crisp and then proceeded to double dip.
They found that the amount of gross bacteria varies between dips, and that chocolate and cheese collect less germs than salsa does, so if you’re a committed double dipper maybe stick to the fondues.
"About 700 bacterial species are found in the mouth and ... most are considered pathogenic [capable of causing disease]," a separate paper in Food and Nutrition Sciences said.
So here are some unofficial guidelines to dip sharing etiquette: If you’re feeling unwell, don’t double dip. If you can, spoon some dip onto your own plate to avoid serial dippers. If you feel compelled to dunk again, do as Dr Shmerling suggests and at least dip with the end of your snack that hasn’t been in your mouth.
A version of this article was originally published on The DeBrief.