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The 5 Second Rule

The 5 Second Rule Most of us are guilty of dropping a favorite food item on the floor and still wanting to eat it. In many households, the “5 Second Rule” (sometimes the “10 Second Rule”, etc.) is there to save the day. But is it really helping? This “rule” is in place in hopes that if food is picked up within 5 seconds or less, it will not become contaminated with bacteria.

With this rule becoming so popular within our culture, scientists have decided to test it. As you may have suspected, the “rule” has been found to mostly be myth. Even with quick reflexes, bacteria is faster when it comes to attaching to food. With that being said, it depends on which bacteria that has climbed on to your food as to whether or not it will make you sick.

If you are tempted by the 5 second rule, here are some things to consider:

A surface that looks clean, doesn’t mean it is clean. Your shiny tiled floor may look cleaner than your carpet, but you may want to think again. When it comes to clean, solid, dry floors bacteria can still flourish. Even if you just finished cleaning your floors, your floor is still only as clean as the tools you used. It can get quite expensive to have to go out to purchase a new mop every time you wanted to clean your floors, and pointless. There are stubborn germs that can still stay attached to you floor after cleaning.

Fast is best, but you still are not fast enough. It is clear that the longer food sits, the more bacteria it will pick up. Even so, bacteria can still attach instantly. With that said, food that comes into contact with the floor will immediately come into contact with bacteria in the right conditions. Foods that have wet surfaces, like fruits, will pick up bacteria more quickly and easily.

When in Doubt

Bacteria should not be a scary word, being that not all bacteria is harmful. Though there are other bacteria that can torment you with diarrhea, or other miserable situations. Even if you cannot see it on your food, you can still get sick. Even if you cannot see a single speck of dirt, that does not mean there are no bacteria present. You can never be sure what types of bacteria are lurking around.

So what happens when a piece of your favorite food falls to the floor? The safest route would be to throw it away, or let your pet have it. Let’s also keep in mind where Spot and Fluffy like to park their bottoms.


About author MacKoul Pediatrics

MacKoul Pediatrics is an amazing local pediatrics office in Cape Coral, FL where caring, compassionate doctors and nurses work with you to keep your children as healthy as possible. MacKoul cares for children from birth to college age, from Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples, and beyond.

February 24, 2017