Blowing Out Birthday Candles Increases Number of Bacteria on Cake, New Study Says Blowing out candles on birthday cakes is a common ritual in most birthday parties. Without it, a party is pretty much considered as being incomplete…and not so fun anyway.
Now forget the fun part. It seems like this ritual isn’t safe after all, well, according to a new study. A new study published in the Journal of Food Research found that blowing out birthday candles on a birthday cake leaves it ridden with a colony of bacteria.
Yes…it’s shocking but true
Dr.Paul Dawson, a Clemson University professor in South Carolina, together with a group of his undergraduate students, found that the small bits of saliva spread after blowing out birthday candles increase bacteria on the frosting by 1400%. Dawson and his team placed a foil on top of a cake-shaped Styrofoam wheel in which they stuck a few lit candles. They then ate some pizza before blowing out the candles to stimulate their salivary glands and to “simulate a birthday party.
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To test the level of bacterial contamination, the team of researchers diluted the frosting with sterilized water and then carefully spread it out on agar plates to allow the bacteria to thrive. The researchers found that the number of bacteria was large but what surprised them was the fact that each blow brought forth different types of bacteria. They also discovered that the blow caused the frosting to grow by an average of 14 times as much bacteria. In some cases, the number shot up to 120, indicating that some people transferred more bacteria than others.
On the bright side, this discovery shouldn’t be a cause for worry. If people were to get sick from eating cakes loaded with bacteria, we would have witnessed so many cases, especially in children. “It’s not really a big health concern in my perspective. In reality, if you actually did this 100,000 times then the chances of getting ill would probably be very minimal,” said Dawson. So as much as it seems shocking, it’s not something to worry about after all. Furthermore, the human mouth is packed with all sorts of bacteria, and most of them are harmless.