A Hairy Situation


There's nothing that can ruin an amazing meal quite like finding a piece of hair in it.  No matter where we are, we will most assuredly stop eating the contaminated food, but why? We have no problem touching our own or others' hair, so why is a single strand in our food such a big deal?


Dr. Valerie Curtis of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine theorizes that it is to protect us. She says that there are a few items that universally produce disgust across all cultures and this feeling is an evolutionary trait intended to protect us. One thing that produces disgust is seeing hair in our food.


She says that we get disgusted from the hair so we will stop eating the meal, which is most likely contaminated with other pathogens.  Seeing the physical evidence of unhealthiness is a sign that there is most likely even more harmful material in the food such as mucus from a chef sneezing or talking or even fecal matter from servers and cooks not washing their hands fully before work.  Plus, the hair itself could transmit ringworm to us.  This is all strong evidence to stop eating the contaminated meal.


However, dermatologist at Northwestern University Maria Colavincenzo believes the opposite. She says that the hair is not a risk for us, since even if the strand contained a virus it is unlikely that it would contain enough of it to actually transmit it to us.  In fact, the FDA does not even specify that food should not contain hair in it, which should tell us that hair in our food is relatively unrisky.


While both of these are just theories, I must say that I agree with Maria Colavincenzo.  If the FDA doesn't ban hair in our food then there must not have been any instances of hair causing disease or infection. However, I will say that finding a hair in your food is probably a sign that the food was not prepared to the highest degree of sanitation, so I suggest that just in case, you stop eating the food if you find a hair in it.







This is such an interesting view point on finding hair in food! In high school I will always remember finding hair in my food and having it gross me out so much I refused to buy lunch ever again. I definitely agree that we think there could be more diseases in our food from that one hair because if they were careless enough to have a hair fall in, who's not to say that other diseases didn't fall in too? While I didn't find any diseases from hair in food either I did happen to find a disgusting story from a Texas Roadhouse, the chef would stick his hair into the steak and send it out to customers, that's just rude and disgusting all around! http://www.jsonline.com/news/29418164.html?ipad=y

I've only found hair in my food a few times, but each time that I have, I have stopped eating the meal. I don't necessarily stop because I'm disgusted by the hair. I'm more disgusted by the person who put it there. The article below explains that hair may not be a health risk, however, it very well could be a sign that the employee making your food is neglectful of keeping clean. That neglectful person who let his/her hair fall into your food, could be the same person that doesn't wash his/her hands after they go to the bathroom. That type of carelessness is what provokes the spreading of germs and viruses. I'm more afraid of the coughing and sneezing this employee did rather than where his/her hair has been.


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