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Our Saving Grace The “Five-Second-Rule” Has Been Debunked


For years, the ‘five-second-rule’ has been considered an easy way to continue to eat what you’re eating even after its fallen on the floor. Sure, sometimes we take the liberty of letting the five seconds extend to 10 or more, but what does that even matter? It’s not like we’re purposely dropping food on the floor just to follow this rule and then eating it after. Invariably, it’s an accident that leads to us dropping food on the floor and before it melts into the ground, you want to be able to salvage it. Sometimes you can! But now researchers have decided to destroy that theory completely and tell us that there’s really no such thing.

Lots of people (not exactly scientifically proven so far) around the world believe that it takes more than five seconds for the bacteria and germs to attach themselves to your food, therefore the creation of the “five second rule”. While it’s not exactly accurate or proven all these years, we’ve been doing it. It’s just one of the many things we’ve all grown up doing and will continue to do no matter what research says. It’s just going tot are time to accept new information.

The debunking

Professor Donald Schaffner at Rutgers University in the United States is the man behind this theory being debunked and lives all over being ruined. He did a study just to prove us all wrong and was even quoted as saying, “The popular notion of the ‘five-second rule’ is that food dropped on the floor, but picked up quickly, is safe to eat because bacteria need time to transfer.” So he along with a team decided to test this and prove us all wrong.

They used four surfaces – stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood and carpet – and four different types of foods – watermelon, bread, bread & butter and gummy candy – and conducted the test. Using different parameters and multiple different versions, they tested everything and 128 scenarios were replicated 20 times each, yielding 2,560 measurements. And the results were that watermelon had the most contamination and gummy candy having the least.

“Transfer of bacteria from surfaces to food appears to be affected most by moisture,” said Schaffner and added that, “Bacteria don’t have legs, they move with the moisture, and the wetter the food, the higher the risk of transfer. Also, longer food contact times usually result in the transfer of more bacteria from each surface to food.”

This might actually change the way lots of people eat their food and how they handle the five second rule, or maybe it won’t. I, for one, have been a klutz when it comes to food and letting it lie on the floor when I can save it instantly and eat it still seems like something I’d do. Thank you, Dr. Schaffner, but I think I’ll continue to believe in the theory that nothing will happen to me or my food if it makes contact with the ground for five seconds.