Everyone knows the 5 second rule. If you drop a piece of food on the floor, and then pick it up before you can count to five, you won’t die of salmonella. Right? Eh, maybe. They took a look at this one on that show Mythbusters, and now some real scientists have given it a once over. The results are delicious.
From The New York Times:
Professor Dawson and colleagues then placed test food slices onto salmonella-painted surfaces for varying lengths of time, and counted how many live bacteria were transferred to the food.
On surfaces that had been contaminated eight hours earlier, slices of bologna and bread left for five seconds took up from 150 to 8,000 bacteria. Left for a full minute, slices collected about 10 times more than that from the tile and carpet, though a lower number from the wood.
What do these numbers tell us about the five-second rule? Quick retrieval does mean fewer bacteria, but it’s no guarantee of safety
Based on the new research the Times writer suggests that the 5 second rule be revised thusly: “If you drop a piece of food, pick it up quickly, take five seconds to recall that just a few bacteria can make you sick, then take a few more to think about where you dropped it and whether or not it’s worth eating.”
As far as we know, that was already the rule. But hey, a slice of lunch meat saved is a slice of lunch meat earned. —MEGHANN MARCO