09 May 2007

The Five Second Rule Has Been Revised

Leave it to Harold McGee. Well, actually some researchers from Clemson University. They decided to test the rule that food that lands on the floor is okay if it’s in contact with the floor for no more than five seconds. Surprise: it’s not! It gathers bacteria! But Harold, sensibly, doesn’t say “don’t eat it” – he says

If you drop a piece of food, pick it up quickly, take five seconds to recall that just a few bacteria can make you sick, then take a few more to think about where you dropped it and whether or not it’s worth eating.

So, that means it’s okay that I let my poor child finish the slice of pizza she dropped at Grand Central Terminal last week when she somehow fell out of her chair? Of course. I couldn’t have taken it away; she was too sad from landing on the floor. And five days later, she's still alive.


Awesome Mom said...

Meh the hydrochloric acid in the stomach takes care of the majority of the germs so I am still going to feed food off of the floor. It hasn't made them sick yet.

niobe said...

Hmmm... I thought that being exposed to germs was supposed to help build up kids' immune systems, so eating off the floor might have some benefits.

meathenge said...


Well, the Mythbusters did a test on it and between 2 and 5 seconds there's no difference in bacteria growth.
So, I say unless it fell in rat poop or something you just can't deal with, eat it.


pinknest said...

i'm such a hypochondriac, but i'm also a bottom feeder. but only by a three-second rule. hahaha.

Aurelia said...

I agree with checking where it fell, not just saying 5 seconds where ever. But really, I'd rather throw it out.

Anonymous said...

For me it totally depends on the food itself--how good is it, how sticky is it. I don't care about germs, I mostly care about pet hair--which I am likely to just pick off.