The five-second rule: true or false?

by Toby Manhire / 22 April, 2013
BBC enlists a scientist to test the veracity of the golden parental dropped-food policy.
As everyone knows, the five-second rule confirms that food that has fallen to the floor remains in almost every case safe to eat as long as it is scooped up and stuffed in your (or, usually, your child’s) gob within a twelfth of a minute.

But is it, you know, true?

Dr Ronald Cutler of the University of London, tested the rule in his lab for the BBC News Magazine, looking at the bacteria attached to pizza, toast and a slice of apple that had rested for a mere five seconds on the floor.

The findings? Lots of bacteria. And it doesn’t appear to make any difference whether it’s one second or 10.

“It doesn’t matter how quickly you pick it up – it’s still going to be contaminated.”

Unless, of course, your floor is completely clean.

Similar results at How Stuff Works.

The Discovery Channel's Mythbusters conducted a similar test.

 
MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

Dunkirk – movie review
76769 2017-07-23 00:00:00Z Movies

Dunkirk – movie review

by James Robins

Dunkirk strikes home with minimal dialogue and maximum tension.

Read more
The sex robots are – ahem – coming
76736 2017-07-23 00:00:00Z Technology

The sex robots are – ahem – coming

by Peter Griffin

Sex dolls are becoming increasingly lifelike but human flesh still wins out.

Read more
Naomi Klein: The writer-activist leading the Trump resistance
76609 2017-07-22 00:00:00Z Profiles

Naomi Klein: The writer-activist leading the Trump…

by Diana Wichtel

Naomi Klein has been unpacking the neo-liberal bag of tricks on our behalf since 2000. Now she’s leading a call to resist US President Trump.

Read more
Meet the Kiwis with a passion for poultry behind documentary 'Pecking Order'
73407 2017-07-22 00:00:00Z Movies

Meet the Kiwis with a passion for poultry behind d…

by Beck Eleven

When Slavko Martinov pitched the idea for his documentary to the Film Commission, it came out as 'Best in Show' - with chickens.

Read more
Filthy Rich exposes us as an angry little nation
76565 2017-07-22 00:00:00Z Television

Filthy Rich exposes us as an angry little nation

by Diana Wichtel

Defenestration is all in a day’s work on Filthy Rich.

Read more
A K Rd music fest and more exciting Auckland events
76691 2017-07-22 00:00:00Z What's on

A K Rd music fest and more exciting Auckland event…

by India Hendrikse

A K Road music fest, Dominion Road - The Musical, The Corsini Collection at the Auckland Art Gallery, Chance to Ignite at Q Theatre.

Read more
Marlborough Book Festival is about wine, food, and books, too
76476 2017-07-22 00:00:00Z Books

Marlborough Book Festival is about wine, food, and…

by Sally Blundell

In a region recovering from earthquakes, Marlborough’s book festival is growing each year.

Read more
Psychopaths: Mean, bold, disinhibited - and more likely to be a man
76732 2017-07-22 00:00:00Z Psychology

Psychopaths: Mean, bold, disinhibited - and more l…

by Susan Strongman

Does your ex drink too much, act impulsively and seem to fear nothing? Turns out, they could be a psychopath.

Read more