For those of you who personally know me, you likely know that I have a extremely strong avoidance of germs. I wouldn't say germophobia (or whatever the technical term is), but I have a healthy avoidance of germ spreading practices.
The NYTimes has an article on the spreading of germs. While I agree in theory, this still will not allow me to let others touch my food. The gist is the dirtier you let your house or child get, the healthier they will be. But there is a limit.....
I agree that washing with antimicrobials regularly is bad. And I don't do it. I'm not the most fastidious housekeeper either (dust bunnies are inevitable with a dog like mine!), but a certain level of cleanliness will go a long way.
I have always let my little seedling play in the dirt, with animals, and get generally dirty (camping is great for this), but washing up a little is good too. You never know when there will be a little Clostridium botulinum hiding in the dirt, and a little prevention goes a long way.
I will ALWAYS cook my food (prevention of Listeria, E.coli, and B. cereus infections), but maybe a 5 second rule will start to apply (onto the table, not the floor)?
My microbiology prof always said there are 2 types of microbiologists in this world. One where they become extremely germophobic (her grandfather shook hands with a handkerchief between them), or they become very apathetic towards microbes.
I'm thinking that I'm glad I won't be a microbiologist. :)