Seven filthy food habits and how dirty they really are

Story highlights

  • There are many ways bacteria can transfer to food through everyday habits
  • Frosting shows a 1400% increase in bacteria after birthday candles are blown out

(CNN)Yum, who's hungry for a slice of cake loaded with bacteria? A chip dipped in both salsa and bacteria? Mmm, what about a piece of toast that just fell on the bacteria-covered floor?

Getting some bacteria with your food is the risk you take if you eat birthday cake after the candles have been blown out, dip a chip in salsa after someone else double-dips or eat toast that has fallen on the floor -- yes, even just for five seconds.
Paul Dawson, a food scientist and professor at Clemson University, has made it his mission for 30 years to understand how our common food habits may be increasing the spread of bacteria. Of course, the risk of becoming ill is typically low, but swapping bacteria through food can increase the chances.
    Every year, Dawson and a group of his undergraduate and graduate students come up with a research project related to our food habits and then quantify how dirty it actually is. He and another colleague are also working on a book about his fascinating food findings.
    How many of these are you guilty of?

    The double-dip

    At one point in an iconic "Seinfeld" episode, George Costanza takes a bite of a chip filled with dip. When he goes for more dip with the same chip, he is quickly confronted about "double-dipping."
    "That's like putting your whole mouth right in the dip!" another character says.