The “five-second rule” that states you can eat food after it fell briefly on the floor is a myth, researchers at Rutgers University say.
This study contradicts research done at Aston University in England two years ago that found the less time food spends on the floor, the less germs it gets.
CBS New York reports that the Rutgers brainiacs say they’ve “disproven” the notion that it’s OK to eat food that’s fallen on the floor, as long as you do it within five seconds.
Time is relative when it comes to eating that donut you just dropped in the parking lot.
What matters, Donald Schaffner, a food science professor at Rutgers, is the amount of moisture present, as well as the type of surface. Time does play a factor, but is just a part of the “can I still eat it” question.
He said the study may seem light-hearted but is worthwhile because the practice is so widespread.
According to Rutgers Today, the test objects were watermelon, bread, bread and butter and gummy candy. They were dropped on four surfaces: stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood and carpet – and four different foods.
Watermelon garnered the most contamination, while gummy candy had the least. Carpet also had the lowest bacteria transfer rate.
“Transfer of bacteria from surfaces to food appears to be affected most by moisture,” Schaffner said. “Bacteria don’t have legs, they move with the moisture, and the wetter the food, the higher the risk of transfer.”
Though, he did say food contact times usually result in the transfer of more bacteria from each surface to food.”
So the debate continues, but we all know you are going to eat that Oreo you just dropped on the office break room floor.