Serial droppers of delicious food, rejoice! A recent experiment puts good faith in the '5 Second Rule' - the popular folklore that tells us that we can eat our dropped food without worrying about germs, so long as we pick it up within five seconds. Most people don't usually use the rule in their daily lives, but science now officially backs the idea that - yes, you can eat it!
The experiment was conducted for the Science Channel by NASA engineer Mike Meacham. Mike began by passing out a tray of free chocolate chip cookies to people around him, but before they could actually take one from him, he would intentionally let the cookie drop to the floor.
Out of all the participants that he dropped a cookie in front of, only one of them thought to pick it up and actually eat it, which speaks volumes about how well we KNOW the '5 Second Rule' versus how many of us are actually willing to apply it to our lives.
But Mike insists that the '5 Second Rule' is perfectly safe - well, depending on which food and which surface is involved. If your food is dry, like a chocolate chip cookie, the risk of attracting harmful bacteria isn't really worth concern. There's even less concern when it falls on rugs or carpeting, as these surfaces are very fibrous, and food touches generally less surface area because of it.
As for wet surfaces, tile, or linoleum, think twice. These surfaces are generally much more prone to E-coli, salmonella, and listeria, especially since most bacteria needs plenty of moisture to multiply and thrive. And with wet foods, you might want to swap that 5 second rule to a 3 second rule:
"Moist foods left longer than 30 seconds collect 10 times the bacteria than those snapped up after only three."
So what do you think? Will you be picking up your dropped food more often now? Has Mike Meacham changed your mind?
Let me know in the comments below, and for more strange (but true!) science and tech findings, follow my Weird Science collection.