June 25, 2007
5-second rule is really 30 seconds
How long can dropped food lie on the floor and still be safe to eat? Two students of Professor Anne Bernhard at Connecticut College decided to find out under normal conditions (in an earlier study upholding the rule, the student had rubbed E coli on the floor first).
From a Connecticut College news release:
To test the ´rule,´ which stipulates that dropped food will be safe to eat if it stays on the floor for fewer than five seconds, Goettsche and Moin took samples of apple slices and Skittles candies to Harris dining hall and the Crozier-Williams snack bar and dropped the foods on the floors in both locations for various time intervals. They then swabbed the foods and tested for any rogue bacteria that might have attached.
The researchers found no bacteria were present on the foods that had remained on the floor for five, 10 or 30 seconds. The apple slices did pick up bacteria after one minute, however, and the Skittles showed a bacterial presence after remaining on the floor for five minutes.
In my house, this is a completely moot issue -- my dogs can beat the 5-second rule every time.
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