Like we don’t have enough food recalls and assorted food fears to contend with, now it’s the so-called #icecreamchallenge, also known as the ice cream lickers.

It goes like this: Person removes ice cream lid in store. Person licks ice cream from the tub. Person replaces lid and puts ice cream back in store freezer. Person shares video because, “internet fame.” Person caught, arrested Person, if adult, can face up to 20 years in jail for felony tampering.

Repeat.

Gagging yet?  Me too.

While I am the type who always takes a taste of my kids’ ice cream cones (too big a taste, according to them), it turns out there are actual health concerns when it comes to someone licking your food. Including your mom.

In a Scientific American study about double dipping, they determined that yes, bacteria can enter dips when you re-dip a chip or cracker you’ve bitten — let alone if you were to lick the dip directly.

They write:

Anywhere from hundreds to thousands of different bacterial types and viruses live in the human oral cavity, most of which are harmless. But some aren’t so good. Pneumonic plague, tuberculosis, influenza virus, Legionnaires’ disease and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) are known to spread through saliva, with coughing and sneezing aerosolizing up to 1,000 and 3,600 bacterial cells per minute. These tiny germ-containing droplets from a cough or a sneeze can settle on surfaces such as desks and doorknobs. Germs can be spread when a person touches a contaminated surface and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth.

Fun reading!

That said, Dr. Michael Benninger of The Cleveland Clinic points out that “the risk of saliva transmitting disease is very small.” So — take some small comfort in that? Even if it’s possible, it’s not probable.

Still. Freezing a food doesn’t kill germs or bacteria, and in fact if the ice cream is out long enough to soften or melt, then it can harbor even more bacteria before it’s returned to the freezer.

And this, friends, is why I have spent the last two days thinking of suitable (if entirely unconstitutional) punishments for the sociopathic ice cream lickers of 2019. Also, this is the reason I should never be allowed to be a judge. Besides the whole law degree thing.

This is also why I’ll be sticking with ice cream brands that use safety seals. Even if you’ll still catch me stealing bites of my own kids’ ice cream cones.

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