> The ‘Five-Second Rule’ is Legitimate, According to Germ Scientist - The Food Safety Company The ‘Five-Second Rule’ is Legitimate, According to Germ Scientist - The Food Safety Company
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    Wednesday, 15 March 2017

    The ‘Five-Second Rule’ is Legitimate, According to Germ Scientist


    There’s nothing worse than when that food you’ve looked forward to all day falls to the floor infront of your very eyes, before you get to finish it. That heart-breaking moment when your evening sweet treat in the form of a chocolate digestive falls on the floor, and it was the last in the packet; what do you do?

    Pick it up swiftly and be filled with optimism that it’s fine? If someone saw it and winces at you wanting to eat the dropped biscuit, do you say “five second rule! It’s fine!” as justification?

    The five-second rule, once seen as a myth has actually been said to be true, according to scientist and germ-expert. That biscuit is actually fine to eat, with less risk than your cringing friend may think.

    Professor Anthony Hilton from Aston University has looked into the infamous food ‘rule’, and revealed that dropped foods are fine if picked up within a few moments - five seconds, if you will.

    Obviously, if it’s covered in dirt or your beloved cat Mindy’s fluff, it’s not going to be fine, or appetising to eat – at this point, cringe away my friend. However if there’s no visible dirt or contamination, enjoy that biscuit at your heart’s content, without fear of developing any kind of food poisoning or related illness.

    He said, as reported by the Metro:

    “Eating food that has spent a few moments on the floor can never be entirely risk free.

    "Obviously, food covered in visible dirt shouldn’t be eaten, but as long as it’s not obviously contaminated, the science shows that food is unlikely to have picked up harmful bacteria from a few seconds spent on an indoor floor.

    “That is not to say that germs can’t transfer from the floor to the food.

    "Our research has shown that the nature of the floor surface, the type of food dropped on the floor and the length of time it spends on the floor can all have an impact on the number that can transfer.”

    And of course, it does depend on the type of food and type of floor, with the research surprisingly revealing that carpets are more risk-free to drop food on that laminate and hard flooring – perhaps due to the risen layer the food lands, on being lifted from the dirt and bacteria ground in lower in the carpet.

    Prof Hilton demonstrates his theory on the five-second rule at the Big Bang Fair, a convention encouraging achievement and interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in children and teens, currently happening in the NEC Birmingham, until Saturday (18th March).

    The revelation comes after a survey revealed that of 2,000 respondents, 79% admitted to have eaten food that’s fallen on the floor. Of course, there are those who wouldn’t dream of eating dropped food, but hey, I suppose that 21% are okay with sacrificing that last chocolate digestive.

    So, next time you drop a food, you can still enjoy it worry-free, just keep an eye of the time passing.



    Laura Sewell

    An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry, with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.


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