5 Second Rule

November 20, 2011 by staff 

5 Second Rule, You’ve probably heard of the five-second rule. It makes the dubious claim that if you drop food on the floor, it’s okay to pick it up and eat it if you do so within five seconds.

Katie Hydrick is a busy mom with four children. When food winds up on the floor, she employs the five-second rule.

“If they drop a plate of apples, I don’t want to cut a whole new apple. I’ll just give it back,” she said. Hydrick says all of her friends do it, too.

“If they just dropped it, I think ‘How much dirt could really be on it?’” she said.

From pacifiers to crackers, Richards Laboratories of Utah decided to test some samples from her home. They dropped the items on her kitchen floor, then later, dropped other samples on the ground, and left them for five seconds.

“I’ve always got one asking for something or another, and I’m always carrying loads of their stuff and so things fall all the time,” said Hydrick.

The lab also tested a spot away from home, at a busy diner. They swabbed the pacifiers under the tables and dropped crackers on the floor.

Baffled diners wondered what they were doing, but did share their thoughts on the five-second rule.

“There is no way. The floor is filthy. I would never do that,” said one customer.

‘I think as long as I pick it up and there are no hairs on it, it’s good,” said another.

“Well, I would be torn. My dad told me never to waste food, but you just never know what’s on the ground,” said another customer.

The samples were put to the test.

“The kitchen was definitely the cleanest,” said Dan O’Brien, technical director at Richards Laboratories.

The crackers dropped on the kitchen floor showed light to moderate amounts of bacteria. The pacifiers showed light amounts of bacteria, along with yeast and mold.

The outside pavement contained not just bacteria. Heavy amounts of mold and yeast were present.

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