- Mitt Romney has a unique way of blowing out candles on a birthday cake.
- Rather than extinguishing them all at once, Romney picked them up one by one and blew them out individually.
- People called his method “weird” and “distressing,” but science suggests he might be doing the right thing.
- In 2017, a study found that blowing out candles can increase the bacteria on cake icing by 1400%.
- Overall it’s not a major health concern, but if you’re a germaphobe, then Romney’s got the technique for you.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mitt Romney, the junior United States senator for Utah, shared a video showing him being surprised with a birthday cake made entirely out of Twinkies for his 72nd birthday.
Romney looked thrilled with the cake made from his favourite snack, but viewers were quick to point out the bizarre way he blew out his birthday candles.
Rather than attempting to extinguish them all at once, Romney instead picked up each candle individually and blew them out one at a time.
My team surprised me with a cake made out of my favorite snack—twinkies! Looking forward to all this year has in store. pic.twitter.com/lQfyIrQ9Qe
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) March 12, 2019
Author Roxanne Gay replied to the tweet with “How do you not know how to blow out candles? It’s distressing, Mitt,” while journalist Bradford Pearson said: “This is the most bizarre technique for blowing out birthday candles that I’ve ever witnessed. Mitt Romney is a deeply weird dude.”
But according to health research, Romney might be onto something. In 2017, a paper published in the Journal of Food Research looked into the bacterial transfer from someone’s mouth to their cake when they blow out birthday candles. The team found that an icing surface that had been blown on had 1400% more bacteria than icing that hadn’t.
“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 authors wrote.
He told the Atlantic in 2017 that he asked his students to eat pizza before blowing on the cakes to better simulate a birthday party, because he thought “it might help the salivary glands get going.”
It’s not an exact science, as some people blow significantly less bacteria than others. The results ranged from increasing the amount of bacteria by 14 times to 120 times. But either way, it’s probably not a major health concern.
“Some people blow on the cake and they don’t transfer any bacteria. Whereas you have one or two people who really for whatever reason … transfer a lot of bacteria,” Dawson said. “It’s not a big health concern in my perspective … In reality if you did this 100,000 times, then the chance of getting sick would probably be very minimal.”
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