Five Second Rule

The 5 Second Rule states that if you pick up dropped food within 5 seconds, it’s OK to eat.

Can this be true? Is it true that food, if dropped, is safe to eat if it spends less than 5 seconds on the dirty floor? That’s what the 5 second rule states!

We are not believers…

Five Second Rule

Five Second Rule

My daughter introduced me to this 5 second rule years ago after she dropped a cookie at her friend’s house. Her friend told her to pick it up quick, within 5 seconds, before any bacteria could find it so that she could still eat it. The 5 second rule is that if your food spends 5 seconds or less on the floor then it is safe to eat because that amount of time is too short for the food to pick up any bacteria. I was not at all convinced or amused since I know what kinds of things can cling to the bottoms of feet, paws and shoes. Nonetheless, it soon became her new favorite rule as she became quite adept at grabbing dropped cookies before I had even noticed that they dropped!

It seemed like a myth to me, but I needed the facts in order to convince my daughter. So, what better place to turn than Mythbusters.

The myth is … drumroll please… busted.

Turns out that just a millisecond is enough time for bacteria to transfer to food, especially if there is any moistness at all in the dropped food.

5 Second Rule - Additional Information

If you need an explanation for your kids that they will appreciate, check kidshealth.

Sorry, a cookie on the floor for any amount of time is better in the trash than in your tummy.

To find out how long other foods are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or use the search function below.

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