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five second rule

Anyone daring enough to eat food off the floor (aka, everyone in the world) can rejoice this evening, as scientists have discovered that the five second rule may actually be legit. 

Germ expert Professor Anthony Hilton from Aston University has said that retrieving those delicious dropped morsels from the floor actually isn't as bad as you might think. 

While it will never be socially acceptable to eat that piece of pepperoni that slipped off your pizza and onto the floor, the experts stand behind the five second rule. 

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“Food covered in visible dirt shouldn't be eaten, but as long as it's not obviously contaminated, the science shows that food is unlikely to have picked up harmful bacteria from a few seconds spent on an indoor floor," he said

“That is not to say that germs can't transfer from the floor to the food."

“Eating food that has spent a few moments on the floor can never be entirely risk-free," said the scientist, who will present his findings at The Big Bang Science Fair in Birmingham this week. 

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“Our research has shown that the nature of the floor surface, the type of food dropped on the floor and the length of time it spends on the floor can all have an impact on the number that can transfer.”

The research was inspired by a survey of 2,000 people which found 79 per cent of people eat food that has been dropped on the floor.

At least now we can say five second rule and mean it! 


We all know the devastation that comes with dropping a much coveted piece food on the floor, so naturally on occasion we have employed the Five Second Rule.

But unfortunately for those of us who’ve justified the consumption of fallen food with the argument that it “barely touched the floor”, a two-year study has found that no matter how little time food spends on your kitchen tiles it will undoubtedly pick up bacteria.

According to The New York Times, the recently published results of the New Jersey based study which tested four different types of foods – cut watermelon, bread, buttered bread and gummy candy – on four different types of surfaces – stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood and carpet – for periods of one, five, 30 and 300 seconds show that no fallen food escaped contamination.

While the research did show that the longer the food spent on the ground the more bacteria it picked up, the main microbiologist involved said that “bacteria can contaminate instantaneously”.

The surfaces which transferred the most germs were tiles and stainless steel, while the food which absorbed the most bacteria was watermelon because of its moist texture.

So all those seemingly grand bits of toast, pasta, doughnuts and cake that bounced from the floor right into our bellies were well and truly – shudder – contaminated.

GIFs: giphy.com

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