Admit it, many of you at some point in your life, followed the 5 second rule. For the few of you that live under that rock, it’s a long time expression used when a piece of food or candy is dropped on the floor, and if picked up within 5 seconds it is “clean”. What cracks me up is that one would usually call it out loud so they don’t come across as sleezy as they truly are for eating off the floor. But, then again, I admit doing it.
The NY Times reported about this recently, and Harold McGee refers to a scientific paper from Clemson University that he found to be both pioneering and hilarious.
The true pioneer of five second research was Julian Clarke, a high school intern at the University of Illinois in 2003. A survey she conducted proved that 50% of men and 70% of woman knew of the rule and many followed it.
She contaminated ceramic tiles with E. coli and experimented by placing gummy bears and cookies on the tiles for the 5 seconds and of course they became contaminated with bacteria.
But, would it really attract more bacteria the longer it lies on the floor?
Professor Paul L. Dawson and his colleagues continued on with the testing and ultimately found that it truly does…. slices of bologna and bread left for 5 seconds collected from 150 to 8,000 bacteria. Once left for a minute, the sandwich attracted more than 10 times the amount.
Sure these were highly contaminated test surfaces and your kitchen floor is much cleaner. But, what do these experiments tell us? A quick pick up in 5 seconds or less does help, but the food sure ain’t safe.
Me? I’d probably pull it on my Mom’s floors. They are so damn clean!!
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