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For those who watched the irreverent comedy, Seinfeld, you know the crazy. Crackpot theories abounded on every subject. But in a 1993 episode, George Costanza dipped into a hot pot of debate on double-dipping that scarred our psyches. The idea of germs never leaves a warm fuzzy feeling. But it turns out that this phobic faux pas has been proven valid by science.

What’s the deal with Double-Dipping?

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When George went back for seconds on the same chip, a fellow mourner objected with disgust:

That’s like putting your whole mouth right in the dip!

Now, according to Dr. Robert Shmerling, editor of Harvard’s Healthbeat, research confirms the possible dangers.

Several diseases spread through human saliva, including Tuberculosis, Legionnaires’ disease, and Pneumonic plague. Shmerling said:

This research does raise the possibility  that a person who is sick might spread a disease by  re-dipping a chip.

The dangers of party dips

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The scientific study calculated the amounts of bacteria spread into a bowl of dip from a double dipped crisp. The results varied based on the thickness of the dip in question.

For example, salsa was the worst offender. The runny nature of the substance meant more bacteria-infected saliva was able to fall off into the bowl on the second dip. Other party favorites, like guacamole, chocolate, or cheese, showed less likely contamination. But if you have ever had a chip break off in the mix, you realize there is little safety in thickness.

The new etiquette

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Many of us might be guilty of this crime against communal hygiene. But it took the show that analyzed social nuances in soup lines and salsa situations to point this out. After watching the show so long ago, my chip technique changed. If I had to have another swipe of the stuff, I either broke my chip in half or turned to the clean edge.

It turns out that scientific advice confirms this new etiquette. If you must double dip, turn the chip around.

Let’s spread the word about spreads

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You, yes you, could potentially save a life today. Double dipping risks the health of millions of party-goers and families across the country. Americans, known for their food enthusiasm and revelry are at greater risk of dying by dip-related disease.

We need Gloria Estefan singing “Turn the Chip Around” at every USO show, posters in every hospital, and most of all, you. Tell your friends, your family, your coworkers. Turn the chip around, ladies and gentleman. The life you save might be your own.

Have you guilty of double-dipping? Share your shame with us on social media or in the comments below.

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