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.

 
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