Scientists confirm five-second rule

UK researchers have found there may be some scientific basis to the “five second rule”, an urban myth that suggests it’s okay to eat food you’ve dropped if you pick it up within five seconds.

Until now, it’s been unclear about whether it actually limited the germs you ingest, but research from Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences have studied the transfer of common bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus between various floor surfaces and foods.

They compared carpet, laminate and tiled surfaces that had toast, pasta, biscuits and sticky sweets dropped on them for different lengths of time, between three and 30 seconds.

They found time was a significant factor for the transfer of bacteria from floor to food.

But the type of flooring also had an effect .Carpet is less likely to facilitate a bacteria transfer than laminate or tiled surfaces.

The worst scenario is moist food dropped onto a hard floor for more than five seconds.

Study leader Anthony Hilton, a professor of Microbiology at Aston University emphasised that there was a risk inherent in eating anything from any type of floor.

“Consuming food dropped on the floor still carries an infection risk as it very much depends on which bacteria are present on the floor at the time; however the findings of this study will bring some light relief to those who have been employing the five-second rule for years, despite a general consensus that it is purely a myth,” he said.

The researchers surveyed people who adhere to the five-second rule and found 87 percent of those surveyed said they would eat food dropped on the floor, or already have done so –– and 55 percent of those were women.

“Our study showed surprisingly that a large majority of people are happy to consume dropped food, with women the most likely to do so,” he said.

“But they are also more likely to follow the five-second rule, which our research has shown to be much more than an old wives tail.”

Julian Rood, a professor of microbiology at Monash University, said that the most important factors for bacteria transfer is the type of food and where it was dropped.

“A piece of bread and butter landing butter side down is more likely to pick something up than a potato chip dropped on a floor,” he said.

“The more bacteria that are on the floor in the first place, the more are going to be transferred to the food. The second issue is whether it’s moist and likely to make significant contact. The greater the surface area, the more bacteria that will be picked up.”

Professor Rood advised people to exercise caution.

Source: Science Daily Author


12 thoughts on “Scientists confirm five-second rule

      • I wonder how we sanitize the air we commonly live in. There are zillions of bacteria floating through the air. In my view, healthy body resists easily infection of any pathogen. From the time we born into this world, we are exposed to pathogen. Our bodies are intelligent enough to build up resistance without the need of overly sanitized environment. And if we dare to live more naturally, the amount of pathogen would be negligible to start with. Bacteria plays huge role in the life on this planet. We could not digest food without, neither would most animals. Plants depend on bacteria to pre-digest the nutrition by breaking complex chemical structures to basic elements.I will not dispute that there is time limit for the transfer, but all these findings are of low relevance compared to natural immunity.


      • Yep. We used to have a neighbour who was a germaphobe. He held everything with a hanky, no-one could touch anything, everything doused in anti-septic. He ended up dying due to not having any resistance to germs.


  1. Speaking of bacteria BB,

    This is the ‘Word of the Day’:

    A Quick And Living Word
    By Brenda • March 11, 2014

    My Word is a living word, a quick word, an active word. Every Word was and is breathed by Me, given by Me through the Holy Spirit. Each and every verse is like a finely crafted instrument in the hands of a master surgeon. Each verse is designed specifically for a purpose and contains an essence of whom and what I am. Fathoms of revelation are contained with the depths of each Word and can never be exhausted of their truth and beauty. My Word, like Me, has no beginning or end. It goes on and on and on . . . waiting to be revealed and understood by a seeking heart.

    So deep is My Word, there is not enough time or enough adjectives to relay the intensity and power of each syllable contained within. Suffice to say, each verse contains volumes upon volumes with the capacity to fill limitless libraries. I and My Word are one. We contain all you need.

    Through the circumstances of life, your experiences and by the very fact you are born with a sin nature, you have in a sense become infected with a type of bacteria. It can only be destroyed—have its power removed from in your life—by the blood of the Lamb, My “Living Word” and your submission to it.

    Of course, the first action needed in all cases is salvation through the life-giving work of My son, Jesus, on the cross (John 3:16-18, Romans 10:9-10). From the point of salvation you are a new creature, a new person and old things have passed away. You must come to a revelation of this and appropriate it by making decisions each and every day to let go of old ways (2 Corinthians 5:17).

    When old ways, thoughts or habits try to infiltrate and spoil the new wine of our communion, you must refuse to accept them as what they really are. Replace them with the truth and do as I have instructed.

    Renew your mind with the Word and your thoughts, motives and actions will follow. It all starts in the mind with thoughts you either given into or take captive. Cut all wrong thoughts and attitudes off at conception. Use My “Living Word” in a proactive way to cut asunder all oppositional lies of the enemy and like a garden after a spring rain, you will grow by leaps and bounds, reaping the fruit of salvation and sanctification…

    “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV).

    Journals of the Heart


      • It doesn’t have to have any relevance Paul,

        It’s a Word of the Day; an edification that I believe is from God for the saints, which just happened to mention the word ‘bacteria’, and that’s where the similarity stops.

        From time to time I put these words on the blog, as an act of faith. However, BRYAN, if you feel that your new blog is no longer the place for this, by all means let me know Bro. Thanks.


    • Or cockroaches! Mine did the other day. Fortunately I noticed it before she had a chance to bite into it—yuk!!! I still squirm when I think about it. 😯


  2. I’m reminded of this:

    “And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: 15There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. 16If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.”


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