The Truth About the 5 Second Rule

Everyone knows the urban myth that if you drop your food on the floor you have 5 seconds to pick it up, before it becomes too contaminated with bacteria that it is inedible.  Scientists have started investigating the science behind it to see if it really is safe to eat food after you have dropped it.

The idea behind the myth is that bacteria cannot contaminate food in 5 seconds, so you can still eat it off the floor.  However, the myth is not based on any scientific evidence and has lead to scientists investigating the myth.  In 2003 during an experiment it was found that E-Coli can be transferred to food within 5 seconds.  A 2007 study found that the dirtiness of the floor was more important than the time it was left on the floor for.  The study also found that bacteria takes longer to transfer when dropped on a carpet than it does on tiles or wood.

Overall it has been found that bacteria transfers as soon as it touches the ground.  In reality the likelihood of us getting ill after eating food off the floor is low, so if you are hungry and need to eat food off the floor, it is better to pick it up quicker than 5 seconds and from a carpet preferably.

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