Five Mississippi

The “five-second rule” will not die, and this is one reason why:

Biology students at Aston University in the UK monitored how quickly E. coli and common bacteria spread from surfaces to food such as toast (butter side down, no doubt), pasta and sticky sweets — with time being a significant factor in the transfer of germs.

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 according to the findings.

There is, however, a variable that must be taken into account:

The type of flooring the food has been dropped on has an effect, with bacteria least likely to transfer from carpeted surfaces and most likely to transfer from laminate or tiled surfaces to moist foods making contact for more than five seconds.

This, of course, contradicts research from a couple of years ago, which supports my ongoing hypothesis that Everything We Know Is, Or Will Be, Wrong.

(Via The Glittering Eye.)


  1. fillyjonk »

    19 March 2014 · 8:39 am

    I’m sorry, but if something falls on a carpeted surface, I’m not eating it, five second rule or no. Because, ew: lint.

    I dunno. For me, the five-second-rule is in action in direct proportion to how much I like the food dropped. A piece of chocolate dropped on the floor is picked up, blown on (to remove any dust) and eaten. A piece of spinach? Into the trash.

  2. McGehee »

    19 March 2014 · 10:22 am

    Indeed, if the spinach is cooked I may drop it on the floor on purpose.

  3. Lynn »

    20 March 2014 · 7:34 am

    The Mythbusters busted this one a couple of seasons back. Case closed.

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