Title: Bacterial transfer to beverages during drinking games: 'beer pong'

Authors: Paul L. Dawson; Inyee Y. Han; Danielle Lynn; Catherine Bailey; Austin Taylor; Rose Martinez-Dawson

Addresses: Department of Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0316, USA ' Department of Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0316, USA ' Department of Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0316, USA ' Department of Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0316, USA ' Department of Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0316, USA ' Department of Mathematics, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0316, USA

Abstract: The study's first phase identified bacteria recovered from ping pong balls used in games played by the general public. Ping pong balls were collected from uncontrolled environments and analysed according to playing location. Results showed that the highest levels of contamination were observed in games played outside, with a mean of 5.3 log CFU/ball, while the lowest levels were observed for games played over carpeted surfaces, with a mean of 2.8 log CFU/ball. In terms of identification, four distinct bacterial types were selected for presumptive identification based on their appearance on agar plates. The second part of the study examined bacterial transfer from inoculated ping pong balls to beer. Using a non-pathogenic E. coli strain as the inoculum, the mean level of contamination was 4.9 log CFU/ball. Overall, the results for both parts of this study demonstrate that the game of beer pong is a source of bacterial transfer.

Keywords: beer pong; bacterial transfer; food safety; beverages; drinking games; ping pong balls; contamination; carpeted surfaces; outdoor environments.

DOI: 10.1504/IJFSNPH.2015.067568

International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health, 2015 Vol.5 No.2, pp.151 - 161

Accepted: 19 Jul 2014
Published online: 17 Feb 2015 *

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