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Happy Birthday! Wait Don't Blow Out the Candles Until You Read This!!

02 August 2017

We've all heard the jokes when it's time to blow out the candles on our birthday cakes.

Scientists out of Clemson University in SC say that on average, blowing out birthday cake candles increases bacteria counts on the icing of a cake by 14 times.

Researchers slathered icing on two fake birthday cakes.

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For the study, researcher Paul Dawson and his students made fake cakes by frosting round styrofoam bases. Dawson has previously conducted food safety studies on common practices like sharing foods, double dipping [sauces] et al. They found that the icing of the cake with blown-out candles had 1400 percent more bacteria than the icing on the cake that was left alone. The pizza also got their salivary glands going. "Some people blow on the cake and they don't transfer any bacteria".

One, the agar plate method isn't the most precise way to count bacteria as they don't all grow well on them. Each colony that grew on the agar plates represented one original bacterial cell from the frosting. Some people might transfer a lot of bacteria while blowing, and others might not transfer any.

However, Dawson insists the findings should not ruin birthday parties.

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"It's not a big health concern in my perspective ..."

"In reality if you did this 100,000 times, then the chance of getting sick would probably be very minimal".

And two, the human mouth is home to a load of bacteria and a lot of them are completely harmless. Of course, no one wants spit on their birthday cake, but it turns out spit is only part of what we have to worry about when the tune of "Happy Birthday" fades away.

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However, the study notes that we're not doomed to get sick after eating cake that has been blown on.

Happy Birthday! Wait Don't Blow Out the Candles Until You Read This!!