New Delhi, August 18: When the Birthday bell rings, everyone gets into the world of celebrating with cakes, parties, colours, glitters, gifts etc. ‘Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you… and the candles are blown! Yay, that’s how we celebrate Birthdays. Attention! Those colourful candles burning brightly atop a birthday cake may look lovely, but apparently blowing them out increases the bacteria by 1400% over the cake itself.
A study in the Journal of Food Research determined that blowing out candles over that sweet icing surface resulted in 1,400 percent more bacteria compared to icing spared the puff. The study was titled “Bacterial Transfer Associated with Blowing Out Candles on a Birthday Cake,” so you don’t have to read far to get the idea.
“Preliminary tests of blowing on nutrient agar indicated that bio-aerosols in human breath expelled from the mouth may be a source of bacteria transferred to cake surfaces,” says the abstract in lingo seldom heard at birthday parties. Nutrient agar is stuff used to cultivate microbes which accumulate in our saliva.
To test the bacteria transfer, the foil was spread over a Styrofoam™ base, icing spread on the foil and the candles jammed into the entire unappetizing mess. Test subjects ate pizza and then blew out the candles. Icing samples were “sterilely recovered” and then tested for the level of bacterial contamination and — Voila! We got it.
“Due to the transfer of oral bacteria to icing by blowing out birthday candles, the transfer of bacteria and other microorganisms from the respiratory tract of a person blowing out candles to food consumed by others is likely,” the abstract says.