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The Five Second Rule Myth Has Been Busted: Food Picks Up Bacteria From The Floor In LESS Than a Second


Have you ever dropped some of your food on the floor and immediately picked it back up and quoted the “Five Second Rule” ? After all how can you let that tasty sandwich go to waste? It was on the floor only for a few seconds right? Well, a lot depends on the type of food that you dropped and the floor it was dropped on but a study conducted by How to Stay Well has confirmed that there is no Five second Safe time.

Throwing Down Facts

Dr Javid Abdelmoneim conducted an experiment that involved placing slices of carrot cake on a kitchen floor and outside on the pavement.

He timed some slices for five seconds and others for 30 seconds, before picking them up and sending the samples off to a laboratory to be tested for germs.

Microbiologist Professor Laura Bowater from the University of East Anglia analysed the results.

She said: “Bacteria transfers almost instantly. Think of this analogy, if you have paint on your finger and put your finger on a table for 0.1 seconds you’d get paint on the table.

“If you had paint on your finger and left it on for five seconds, you’d still get paint on the table.”

Dr Javid added: “The moist cake picked up the same bacteria, regardless of whether it was on the floor for five seconds or 30 seconds.”

He then asked if there is “any difference between wet and dry” food.

Professor Laura added: “It is clear that if you’ve got something that’s moist, it’s liable to collect more bacteria than something that’s dry.”

More bacteria was found on the cake that was left on the concrete, than on the cake left indoors.

Dr Javid said: “None of the bacteria found on any of the cake would make a healthy adult or toddler sick.

“But as the number of bacteria increases, so does the risk of eating a harmful one.”

Professor Laura said she “doesn’t advise” eating food that is dropped outside, and said it’s better to be “exposed to friendly bacteria” by “getting out and about”.