Look What Unwashed Hands Can Do!!

Lounge By indydebi Updated 23 Sep 2015 , 6:33pm by craftybanana2

indydebi Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 7:06pm
post #1 of 31

In the high school cooking classes I teach, I show them WHY we have to wear gloves and wash hands. https:[email protected]/20923837944/in/dateposted-public/

The "Control" slice was handled with tongs. The "washed" slice was handled with washed hands. The other 4 represent 4 different classes who touched the bread barehanded just long enough to pass it to the next guy! 4 short weeks later, look at all of the mold generated by their germy hands, but the control and the washed-hands ones do not show one speck of mold.

I do this every semester and they love watching it!!

30 replies
-K8memphis Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 7:19pm
post #2 of 31

very effective, creepy and powerful to make a lasting impression -- great stuff, Indy 

indydebi Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 7:22pm
post #3 of 31

I especially like pointing out "I hope you weren't one of the last ones to touch that bread before we bagged it up and hung up !"  LOL!

-K8memphis Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 7:30pm
post #4 of 31

omg -- too funny --

hey why doesn't the other bread show any signs of wear at all is this like one of those eternal french fry things?

indydebi Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 7:34pm
post #5 of 31

Because they weren't touched with germy hands!  Only touched with sanitized tongs.  Then I walked into my washroom (I have one attached to my classroom) washed my hands and touched the 2nd one.  I'm sure they might start looking pitiful after a few months, but they are a (good!) loser in this race!

sparkledee3 Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 7:49pm
post #6 of 31

Wow! great visual for understanding GERMS food handling. Can I share your link or pictures on my page?

indydebi Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 7:54pm
post #7 of 31

absolutely!  Share away!

-K8memphis Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 8:13pm
post #8 of 31

bread won't last in the bag untouched by anything but what put it in there for 4 weeks -- it molds fast here -- probably wouldn't last 2 weeks -- we keep it in the freezer usually -- 

*Last edited by -K8memphis on 19 Sep 2015 , 8:16pm
jchuck Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 9:07pm
post #9 of 31

When I was working as a psw, we took infection control every year. Washed our hands and then put our hands under a special light. No one remembers to scrub under the finger nails....full of bacteria!!!!  You can't be too careful when handling food!

CatPoet Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 9:16pm
post #10 of 31

Just one thing, no bread in baked in Sweden would last 4 weeks with no mould.  

A normal store bought bread moulds with in 14 days,  most often a week due to  the laws forbidding those types over ever lasting preservatives.   Well there should be a  swissroll from the 80.ties still  looking fresh and moist at the health department.

And also not all germs we have on our hands are actually bad  but that is for another day.

indydebi Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 9:23pm
post #11 of 31

jchuck .... at the end of the semester, I blacklight the kitchens with them.  Things that never get wiped off most often?  Kitchen Aid MIxers, fronts of microwaves, and the hand-soap dispenser.  These are the 3 dirtiest things in the kitchen at the end of the year!  It's actually a pretty good lesson that gets their attention about how we always wipe down the stove top and the counters but it doesn't cross their minds to wipe down the mixer or the wall behind the sink.

-K8memphis Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 9:27pm
post #12 of 31

my house would glow like it's radioactive -- you could see it from space 


indydebi Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 9:30pm
post #13 of 31

I blacklighted my home kitchen with my grandkids this past summer.  Then IMMEDIATELY pulled out the step stool and cleaned that wall above my stove!  Ewwwww!!

jchuck Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 9:36pm
post #14 of 31

Yes, amazing where bacteria lurks...

bubs1stbirthday Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 9:56pm
post #15 of 31

I am also intrigued as to why the bread didn't go mouldy. Our bread lasts at most a week before it goes mouldy. I am amazed that after a month that bread is looking as white as it came out of the bag.

On the flip side there is no way I would let a black light to shine around my house lol. One two and half year old (hah wish I could go back to the first few months of sleepless nights and tell myself that calling yourself bubs1stbirthday in a forum where you can't change your name is a bad idea) and two dogs make enough mess to keep my house in a constant state of 'crap everywhere' and 'food on the floor' and 'mum, I am standing on the draw handles........again!' lol.

*Last edited by bubs1stbirthday on 19 Sep 2015 , 10:31pm
jchuck Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 10:08pm
post #16 of 31


Commercially made bread has preservatives in them, that's why most last a week without going mouldy. We buy organic bread, and keep it in the freezer, taking out slices as needed. There's just 2 of us now, so no biggy to nuke a couple of slices. Come winter I'll be baking my own bread, now homemade really moulds fast. It definitely stays in the freezer......

bubs1stbirthday Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 10:34pm
post #17 of 31

We buy bread off the shelves but by the time a week is over there is little mould spots starting to show on it. We are usually done with a loaf of bread before then anyway so no biggie for us. I was just curious as to how the bread in the experiment lasted amonth without going mouldy :-) 

indydebi Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 10:39pm
post #18 of 31

Bread you take home has multiple hands in and out of the wrapper, getting bread slices out.  Exposed to multiply chances of germs being transmitted into the bread bag.  The ones on my board were from a brand new loaf of bread and had never had a bare hand in the wrapper until I opened it and used sanitized tongs.  You're all confirming my experiment!!  :-) 

Claire138 Posted 20 Sep 2015 , 6:43am
post #19 of 31


What a way to get the point of hygiene across. Amazing.

CatPoet Posted 20 Sep 2015 , 11:04am
post #20 of 31

But remember not all bacteria is harmful to us, some are even good for us and  help us digest food and we get more ill if we live in a total  sterilized environment  .  

A scientist  told me this, reason the bread wont mould is  due to the preservatives  is  an anti fungal since mould  is fungus  that will not grow, so what grows is bacteria only.   So if the bread didnt have this preservative even the  bread taken with tongs would mould because our air is full of mould and yeast spores.

aarika Posted 20 Sep 2015 , 2:39pm
post #21 of 31

I'm sorry CatPoet, but I'm going to have to call you out on that. Perhaps I'm misinterpreting your post, but it reads like you are suggesting against handwashing and/or standard safe food handling practices?

You are absolutely correct in saying there are beneficial bacteria. Recent studies do support the "hygiene hypothesis," which generally states that lack of exposure to benign environmental flora can weaken the body's defense against infection. That applies more to the context of day-to-day exposure (think children living in homes where all surfaces get bleached on a daily basis.) However, this experiment pertains to foodborne illness, not simple environmental exposure

The "good" bacteria in food like cheese, yogurt, and probiotics, are isolated strains of very specific types of bacteria. The product is usually pasteurized, and then specific types of bacteria are added back to the product. That's why on your yogurt container, it lists the four or so type of bacteria present.

On your hands at any given time, there are millions of different bacteria (as well as other microbes like viruses, yeast, etc.), and those with infectious potential far outnumber the good ones. Anti-microbials are a class of food preservatives, usually some have stronger action against certain types of microbial flora, such as yeast, fungus (mold), or even certain types of bacteria, yes. But it is untrue that the preservatives in all commercial bread are only anti-fungal. That's just completely false. What people know in layman's terms as "mold" can mean an overgrowth of fungus, bacteria, or yeast. And even if it were bacterial growth alone, the waste products of cellular metabolism (re:growth) are toxic.

By washing your hands, you aren't "sterilizing" the environment. There is a distinct difference between "clean" and sterile. Sterile, by definition, means the absence of microbes. Sterile would be the operating field when you have surgery. Even when you sanitize your food prep surfaces, they aren't totally sterile.

I hope my tone hasn't come across as rude or condescending, but if you are in a position where you prepare food for consumption by others, knowledge of food safety basics is absolutely essential. I would highly recommend taking a ServSafe course, but in the meantime here's a good, free resource on food safety:  http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/index.html

-K8memphis Posted 20 Sep 2015 , 4:41pm
post #22 of 31

i can't see where catpoet implied anything against handwashing or sanitation 

aarika Posted 20 Sep 2015 , 5:07pm
post #23 of 31

In the context of this thread, which centers on a picture of bread with microbial overgrowth, I don't believe my assumption was a giant leap in logical deduction.

But remember not all bacteria is harmful to us, some are even good for us and  help us digest food and we get more ill if we live in a total  sterilized environment  .  

A scientist  told me this, reason the bread wont mould is  due to the preservatives  is  an anti fungal since mould  is fungus  that will not grow, so what grows is bacteria only.   So if the bread didnt have this preservative even the  bread taken with tongs would mould because our air is full of mould and yeast spores.

Particularly, the statement that "not all bacteria is harmful to us... and we'll get more ill if we live in a total[ly] sterilized environment," followed by "bread won't mold due to preservatives ... what grows is bacteria only." I'm reading it as, if A) not all bacteria are harmful, and B) what is growing on the bread is bacteria only, then C) the bacteria growing on the bread isn't necessarily harmful. He or she further supports the point that by saying that, since the control bread doesn't have "mold" (in layman's terms), there's a preservative preventing mold (in terms of fungal growth) and so what's on the experimental slices is only bacteria (and not necessarily harmful, according to the initial claim.)

Hopefully that makes sense. Out of context, she has a valid point that not all bacteria are harmful. But this was a post regarding an experiment on hygiene and food safety.

aarika Posted 20 Sep 2015 , 5:17pm
post #24 of 31

I don't see how the comment is appropriate for the topic, but perhaps I did misconstrue it and I apologize if so. The norm is that the public has a knowledge deficit with regards to germ theory. Particularly with highly publicized ideas like the hygiene hypothesis, which is what she or he is referring to by saying you'll get more ill if you aren't exposed to bacteria, they are taken out of context and have the potential to result in harm.

-K8memphis Posted 20 Sep 2015 , 7:50pm
post #25 of 31

i agree with you, aarika, cp said it was a point for another day in post 10 as you do as well --

 my dentist tells me not to clean my mouth with washes too often that i need some of the bacteria in there -- we need some molds like penicillin right? we all need good bacteria in our colon for example -- 

"Penicillin, the most famous antibiotic of all time, has saved millions of lives. And it's quietly lurking in your kitchen right now."

i agree with cp posts -- and i'm a certified servsafe instructor whatever that's worth -- not that i'm speaking for the company or anything -- 

aarika Posted 20 Sep 2015 , 9:43pm
post #26 of 31

I'm afraid you are confusing penicillin, which is an anti-biotic (re: anti-bacteria) derived from fungal growth (mold), with bacteria that contributes to healthy gut flora. I can assure you if you ate a piece of moldy bread, it would do nothing beneficial for your colon. Penicillin is a molecule that is a component of penicillium mold, a type of fungus. Furthermore, an antibiotic like penicillin kills off healthy gut flora along with infectious diseases, hence why you can end up with diarrhea or infections like c-diff after a round of strong antibiotics.

I don't want to hijack the thread any further, but I'm happy to discuss it more so feel free to message me if you'd like. I'm a critical care certified RN when I'm not making cakes. I studied microbiology and pathophysiology as part of my training and work with infectious disease on a regular basis.

-K8memphis Posted 20 Sep 2015 , 9:45pm
post #27 of 31

no i'm not confusing anything thank you anyway

CatPoet Posted 21 Sep 2015 , 6:21am
post #28 of 31

I never said  anything against  hand washing. I should put in  simpler terms.  Do the same experiment with a bread  that doesn't have preservatives and after 4 weeks they would have all moulded.

indydebi Posted 21 Sep 2015 , 12:12pm
post #29 of 31

Do the same experiment with a bread  that doesn't have preservatives and after 4 weeks they would have all moulded.

But to the same degree?  I would still expect the handled-by-bare-unwashed-hands bread to be more moldy than the control slice. Sounds like an interesting experiment.

Shockolata Posted 23 Sep 2015 , 6:22pm
post #30 of 31

Bread here moulds after 2-5 days in room temperature in its packaging without anyone opening the package or touching it, despite all the additives to make it last. I think this is a sensationalist experiment you have performed. Gloves can have germs if someone with dirty hands touches the packet... someone with gloves can touch something dirty and then touch food. It never ends. Teaching your students good hand washing techniques would be more appropriate. And you know something? I do not trust bread that does not go hard and dry and then mouldy. It means it is not real bread. Real bread you bake in the morning and have finished it by night. Or if you have to carry it over to the next morning, you wet and reheat in the oven to refresh. Everything else is an abomination.

Quote by @%username% on %date%