The Five-Second Rule Is Real, Says Science (Sorta. Kinda. Maybe.)
By: Erin Ruberry
Great news for anyone who accidentally dropped toast onto the kitchen floor this morning: the five-second rule is real, at least according to a study from Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences.
"Food picked up just a few seconds after being dropped is less likely to contain bacteria than if it is left for longer periods of time," the researchers found.
To test their hypothesis, the team dropped various food items -- from toast to a "sticky sweet" -- onto different types of flooring and tracked the transfer of E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.
"[F]ood dropped on smooth surfaces like tile or laminate is far more likely to pick up bacteria than similar food dropped on carpet. And, as logic would suggest, moist foods are almost certain to grab anything they come in contact with."
So if you're going to eat food that's fallen onto the floor, your best bet is a dry food on carpet.
Interestingly, more women than men admit to having eaten food that's fallen on the floor or being willing to eat food from the floor: Of the 87 percent of people surveyed by the team who would or have eaten food off the floor, 55 percent were women.
The research has not been peer-reviewed and Prevention notes that the test was only conducted three times: "Three replicates is okay for many types of sciences, but when you’re dealing with bacterial transfer from one surface to another, you need to do 20 to 30 replicates."
Our friends at DNews took a closer look at the study:
The Mythbusters have conducted their own tests on the five-second rule:
Do you eat food that's fallen on the floor?