Why Mayonnaise Probably Won't Give You Food Poisoning

Brilliance | Dec. 15, 2017

Everybody knows not to eat potato salad left out after a picnic or a mayo-slathered sandwich that's been in a lunch bag too long. And while these foods certainly have the potential to make you sick, the mayonnaise they contain is almost guaranteed not to be the reason.

At its most basic, mayonnaise is a combination of oil, egg yolks, and vinegar or lemon juice. Those last two ingredients are the key to why claims that mayo causes food poisoning are almost entirely unfounded: the condiment's high acid content protects it against spoiling. Indeed, multiple studies in the Journal of Food Protection have found that mayonnaise actually decreases the growth of bacteria like salmonella and staphyloccus, which means adding mayonnaise to food will in fact reduce the risk that the other ingredients could make you sick. Bust this and other food myths with the videos below.

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