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You drop your snack on the floor and quickly snatch it up. It's safe to eat as long as you follow the "five second rule"... right? Scientists are now saying that there may be some merit in the old wives' tale after all.
Lots of people follow the five second rule, which says you can eat dropped food as long as you pick it up within the five second window. Scientists with the Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences studied the amount of time it takes bacteria to stick to a piece of dropped food. They found that food picked up within a few seconds of being dropped contains significantly less germs than a piece of food left on the floor for 30 seconds or longer.
The type of flooring also plays a big part in the transfer of bacteria. Carpeting is the least likely to transfer bacteria and laminate/tile is the most likely.
Director Anthony Hilton admits that eating dropped food still carries some risk for infection, and the cleanliness of the food "depends on which bacteria are present on the floor at the time."
National Geographic points to another study done on the topic, which found that moist foods were more likely to pick up bacteria than drier foods.
The study also measured how many people would be okay with eating dropped food and showed that the overwhelming majority (87%) would eat it. 55% of that number are women.
Unsurprisingly, 81% of the women who would eat dropped food follow the 5 second rule.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons