Dropped your food? Throw it away: Five second rule is a myth

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The scientists then took a staggering 2,560 measurements with different foods and surfaces and the result revealed that no food was safe.

Growing up, we have all heard about the famed “five second rule.” A seemingly legitimate (at least to our juvenile reasoning) rule which allowed us to live with our mistake and get away with it—particularly dropping our food on the floor as still being able to eat it.

So long as the food doesn’t stay on the ground for five seconds, they’re deemed clean and safe to eat.

You may still believe in the five second rule now even as an adult, but is there really any scientific reasoning to back it up?

According to experts, there’s none.

It’s bogus.

Your whole life has been a lie.

In fact, according to a study conducted by researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey, once food falls on the floor, bacteria can transfer to it in less than a second.

“Professor Donald Schaffner, who led the research, reported that the ‘popular notion’ is completely false, having carried out tests on various food types on four different surfaces,” says a Mirror report.

“Prof. Schaffner used watermelon, bread, bread and butter, and gummy bears to carry out his tests, dropping them on stainless steel, ceramic tiles, wood, and carpet for less than one second, then moving up to five, 30, and finally, 300.”

To make results more or less realistic, each material was lined with salmonella-carrying bacteria.

The scientists then took a staggering 2,560 measurements with different foods and surfaces and the result revealed that no food was safe.

“The five-second rule is a significant oversimplification of what actually happens when bacteria transfer from a surface to food,” the professor told Rutgers University news. “Bacteria can contaminate instantaneously.”

However, no food is created equal; each had different rates at which they contaminate.

Watermelon, say, are more prone to pick up bacteria than candies, and carpets are slower to transfer bacteria than tiles.

“Transfer of bacteria from surfaces to food appears to be affected most by moisture,” Prof Schaffner added.

“Bacteria don’t have legs, they move with the moisture, and the wetter the food, the higher the risk of transfer.

“Also, longer food contact times usually result in the transfer of more bacteria from each surface to food.”

Republished with permission from: theAsianparent Philippines

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Written by

James Martinez