July 05, 2007

Five-second rule too strict?

790132_51451051 Chances are that if you were at a July 4th picnic or barbecue yesterday, you may have heard someone shout the phrase "five-second rule!" before quickly picking up food they had dropped on the ground, blowing or wiping off any detritus, and popping it in their mouth.

Come to find out, you really have a good bit more than five seconds to safely rescue and consume those wayward mouthwatering morsels before you need to worry about them becoming contaminated.

In research conducted by two Connecticut College seniors,  Nicole Moin and Molly Goettsche, they discovered that food dropped on the floor in one of their college dining halls remained bacteria-free for up to 30 seconds for wet food (apple slices) and more than a minute for dry (Skittles candy). In fact, the Skittles didn't show any bacterial contamination until the five-minute mark.

So next time you choose to rescue that tasty treat - or see one of your kids do the same - rest easier in the knowledge that time, and a little healthy dirt,  is on your side.

Comments

Kevin

According to the MythBusters, they confirmed that the 5 second rule is not valid and you are in fact contaminating your dropped food if it drops for even a split second.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MythBusters_(season_3)

The Rious-Tous

Well, I would not feed my family food from the floor but then again, checking out all the documentaries about people who live out in the wild and wild animals as well, non of them use forks, knifes or plates to eat!!! Some eat out off leafs and/or stones, with dirty hands etc.. I think we make our own immune system too sensitive.

Rebecca

wikipedia is not a valid source

Adee

Bacteria can grow on Skittles? I thought the chemicals in the candy could kill all living organisms...

KrisPrettyCool

I saw the episode of MythBusters myself where a veritable scientist dropped both wet and dry foods on the kitchen floor of an ordinary household to test the "Five-second Rule". It is completely true and correct that what they found was five seconds is way too long to wait to pick up food off the floor if you're going to eat it because that is plenty of time for Lots of nasty bacteria to grow on wet foods (such as shrimp and cantaloupe slices), while virtually no bacteria was found on "hard" foods or foods that have a hard outer shell or covering (ie jelly beans & skittles). Apparently it is difficult for bacteria to immediately stick to foods that have a smooth and dry surface, whereas the opposite is true with wet foods, of which bacteria are easily and almost instantly absorbed by their moisture and wetness.

Stark

Bacteria are carried in the air and contaminate everything. You can never be truly bacteria-free, and why would you want to be? I think the bigger point here is, Is it REALLY a big deal if I drop something and pick it up real quick to eat it? Where am I dropping it, the floor of my house, a sidewalk, or the floor of a dingy highway rest stop bathroom? Come on. Lighten up and live a little. Civilization isn't going to fall because people eat a chip or apple that fell on the floor.

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