Five Second Rule Or Should We Eat Off The Floor

Is there any truth to the five-second rule? You know, that guiding principle we use when our food drops to the floor and we pick it right back up and eat it. As long as it hasn't been on the floor for more than five seconds, we're safe. Right?

We actually have longer than five seconds, says Anne Bernhard, assistant professor of biology at Connecticut College, whose students put this rule to the test.

Bernard and her team dropped apple slices, a wet food, and Skittles, a dry food, on a cafeteria floor — which incidentally had been smeared with E.coli — and then measured the results. Their conclusion: Moist foods are probably safe for 30 seconds, and dry food can stay on the ground for one minute. And that's with E.coli in the mix.

So the five-second rule appears to be legit — if you trust this study, that is.


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10 Responses to Five Second Rule Or Should We Eat Off The Floor

  1. Steve Betz says:

    Hah! I had heard just the exact opposite on the radio just a few weeks ago — that food was essentially contaminated immediately upon contact.
    Scientists — pffft — what do they know?? 🙂

  2. jacolily says:

    I'm all for it. A little dirt never scared me! E Coli? Maybe a little…………

  3. ashbylane says:

    I heard the same report Steve heard apparently….but it didn't phase me! 🙂 I say the 5 second rule applies for most "normal" areas that are under YOUR (or someone you know) control….like your own home, or a friends home….but public places are "dead zones"….airports, restaurants, workplace….forget it. If it drops there, it's history.

  4. My daughter is so confused by this … apparently I slide to the same side as asbylane on this one. Familiar places, ok no big deal … public places, nooooo way!

  5. In the Boy Scouts we would drop hot dogs in the dirt and merely blow them off and continue eating, and I'm not worse for the wear.

  6. Kate says:

    Have you ever watched Myth Busters? There was an episode when they tested it and found there was no truth to the myth. Time was really not a factor…it was more the type of food that was dropped.
    …wow I'm a nerd.

  7. ontimeout says:

    I would imagine it has a lot to do with what sort of food is dropped onto what type of surface. A piece of red rope dropped on the kitchen floor can hang there for a good three or four days and still be edible, in my opinion. Unfortunately, a s'more dropped in the sand is unedible upon contact!!

  8. Mello says:

    Personally, I'm more afraid of door handles and stair rails than floors. At least people don't blow their noses and then touch the floor with their filthy, dirty hands. You might not drop your food on a door handle, but you do use the same hands to eat with that you just touched that nasty stair rail with.
    Have a mentioned I have a thing about door handles and stair rails?

  9. Mello says:

    I'm a nerd too – I love Mythbusters!

  10. AshbyChick says:

    I actually saw that too!

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