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Debunking the 5-Second Rule Hey Dave, can you pass me some chips?

Sure…

Thanks… oops, never fails, dropped one.

Too bad the five second rule is just an old wives tale.

I know, yet a lot of people believe it that if you pick up food dropped on the floor in under three or five seconds, it's safe to eat. We found a pretty good study showing this is a myth.

In this study, researchers did three experiments.

The first tested how long bacteria could survive on a sterile floor tile. Amazingly, tens of thousands of bacteria were still alive after a month.

In the second experiment, researchers dropped a piece of bologna on three types of contaminated floors: tile, wood and carpet.

As you've probably guessed, a lot of the bacteria on the tile floor got transferred to the bologna and the least amount by the carpet.

The researchers did that experiment several times, but varied when they picked up the bologna. What's surprising is it didn't matter whether they left the bologna for five seconds or sixty seconds, the same amount of bacteria was transferred.

If ten thousand bacteria were transferred to the bologna after five seconds on the tile floor, it was still ten thousand after sixty seconds.

They repeated the experiment with bread instead of bologna and got the same results.

This debunks the myth of the five second rule because within five seconds, bacterial transfer has already occurred.

For tidy people who believe their floors are clean enough to eat on, know that floors also harbor toxic cleaning chemicals and pesticides.

The safest rule is food that lands on the floor should go in the trash.

 

For more information…

For the scientific publication that tested the five second rule go here or here.

The New York Times published an article describing the findings about the 5-second rule here.

For information about maintaining a healthy home, the Centers for Disease Control has a very informative page that offers tips by room and topic with extensive links to more information.

The Guys at Mythbusters on the discovery channel also took on the subject and produced the video you can see here.