Is It Safe To Pick Up Food And Apply the 5-Second Rule?

How many times have you picked up a food on the floor and eat it as long as it passed the 5 second rule? If you do it most of the time, should you be worried about the disease that you might acquire? Well, it’s time to set your worries aside. According to researchers, the 5-second rule deserves recognition because it is more than a myth.


A new study shows that the 5 second rule which we regarded as urban myth may be scientifically correct. The 5 second rule suggests that it is safe to eat food that has been dropped on the floor as long as it is picked up within 5 seconds. Believers say that 5 seconds is not enough time for bacteria to lodge into the food.

5 second rule

To determine if there’s truth behind the 5 second rule the researchers from Aston University in UK headed by Prof Anthony Hilton Assessed the possibility of transfer of bacteria such as E-coli and Staphylococcus aureus on different food and floor types.

The researchers assessed various types of floors which are tiled, laminated and carpeted. They also monitored food like pasta, stick candy, biscuit and toast. They recorded the level of bacteria which transferred to the food between 3-30 seconds after it touched the floor.

The 5 Second Rule May Be Effective Says The Experts

The result of the study shows that when the food is left on the floor for a long time, the level of bacteria that it picks up increases. It was also revealed that the type of floor and the type of food affects the level of contamination of the food.

For example a food dropped on a carpeted surface is less likely to pick up bacteria while a food dropped on a laminated or tiled surface for more than 5 seconds likely picks up more bacteria.

During the study, the researchers also conducted a survey and asked the participants if they eat foods that have been dropped on the floor. They discovered that 87% of participants would eat food which touched the floor. 55% of the participants who said yes to dropped food were women and 81% said that they apply the 5 second rule.

The findings of the study can definitely put the mind of people who practice the 5 second rule at ease says Prof Hilton. He also added, “Consuming food dropped on the floor still carries an infection risk as it very much depends on which bacteria are present on the floor at the time.

However, the findings of this study will bring some light relief to those who have been employing the 5-second rule for years, despite a general consensus that it is purely a myth.

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