The Five-Second Rule is Real

Five second rule

Gross, you may be thinking-but those 1,580 honest people are on to something, says germ expert and Aston University microbiologist Anthony Hilton told media before he presented his research today at The Big Bang Fair in the U.K. Hilton contends that you can totally take food off the floor and eat it-within a reasonably short amount of time, of course. Whether you adhere to that bacterial code of conduct or dismiss it as an old wives' tale, the five-second rule - believe it or not - has been the subject of scientific debate for some time.

Previous research from the United States has found that bacteria clings to dropped food after just one second on the floor. What they found was that drier foods such as toast, chocolate, cookies and sandwiches could be left on the floor for up to 30 minutes with little risk of increased bacteria.

Who uses the five second rule? But, the research also found that the type of the surface and the food play an important role in bacterial transfer, echoing the findings from Aston University.

The widely different conclusions are a result of how researchers assess the degree of risk in eating potentially contaminated food.

This five second rule has a lot of debate built around it: some people argue that those who drop food have a window of up to five seconds to pick it back up and consume the fallen food without severe consequences, while other groups of people argue that food gets contaminated immediately.

But the lead author said: 'On the balance of probabilities, if you drop a biscuit or piece of toast, it would need to land on enough bacteria, with enough transferring to the food, it would need to be the right type of bacteria to make you ill and the right dose. But if you can't bring yourself to eat food from the floor, either, no one here is blaming you. The Independent cited another survey that found 79 percent of people had already done it.

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