Does the five-second rule really work? This is what science says

Yes, there your chip goes. Not for your mouth, but for the floor you haven’t vacuumed in a long time. The big question now is: Is it safe to take it anymore, as long as you catch it quickly enough? The five-second rule may seem simple, but science is only now knowing how accurate the answer is. These are the facts.

Does the five second rule work?

To determine whether the five-second rule is effective, it is important to know how long it takes for bacteria to travel from the ground to a piece of fruit, cookie or chocolate. According to nutritionist Donald Schaffner from Rutgers University (USA), there are quite a few misconceptions about this topic.

Until 2016, the five-second rule had only been used once I searched extensively. The study was conducted in 2007 by Paul Dawson, a food scientist at Clemson University, also in the United States. This showed that bacteria could jump almost instantly as soon as food came into contact with the floor, although the researchers’ focus was mainly on how long bacteria remained on different surfaces.

Schaffner and student Ruben Miranda decided to take a closer look at the five-second rule. They conducted an experiment in which they tested different foods. The results were published in 2016 Applied and environmental microbiology.

Conclusion? Unfortunately, the five-second rule doesn’t work: even at the first contact with the floor, bacteria jump out. However, the rule is not entirely surprising: the longer food stays on a dirty surface, the more bacteria it has.

Watermelon is different from wine gum

However, the biggest enemy is not time, but humidity. Wet food (in this case watermelon) picks up more bacteria than dry food, such as bread or wine gum. Fabric floor coverings also transmit less bacteria than tile or stainless steel; The bacteria released by the scientists was absorbed through the carpet.

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Since then, many studies have shown how easily bacteria can spread in the kitchen Through fingers Or simply Use the same cutting board for meat and vegetables – Even when washed repeatedly.

Is eating food off the floor prohibited?

So the science is pretty clear about the five-second rule. Does this mean it is never safe to eat something found on Earth? Dawson says it depends on the surface and the type of bacteria you might encounter. “If you drop something in the hospital, you probably won’t want to pick it up again, but 99 percent of the time it won’t cause any harm.”

So anyone with a healthy immune system can eat a cookie with some of the dust and bacteria on the floor. According to experts, the real rule should be: maintain good hygiene and keep floors and surfaces clean.

Myrthe Prince has worked as a journalist for more than ten years – she has written travel stories for Traveler magazine, been a correspondent for PZC and interviewed numerous researchers for her science column in National Geographic magazine. In addition to her work as an online editor, she writes poetry and prose, learns new languages, and helps her team escape escape rooms.

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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