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Does the ‘five-second rule’ really work?

Does the ‘five-second rule’ really work?

You may think your floors are so clean you can eat off them, but a new study debunking the so-called five-second rule would suggest otherwise. It may be time to re-think the good ole five second rule. Read on…

Professor Donald W. Schaffner, a food microbiologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, said a two-year study he led concluded that no matter how fast you pick up food that falls on the floor, you WILL pick up bacteria with it.

The findings in the report — “Is the Five-Second Rule Real?” — appeared online recently in the American Society for Microbiology’s journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Researchers at Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences in England reported in 2014 that food picked up a few seconds after being dropped is “less likely to contain bacteria than if it is left for longer periods of time,” giving rise to news accounts suggesting that eating the food might be harmless. Those findings, and research done at the University of Illinois in 2003, did not appear in a peer-reviewed journal, Professor Schaffner noted.

Even though the five-second rule is a bit of folklore, it still raised important public health issues that demanded closer scrutiny, he said. He cited research by the Centers for Disease Control, which found that surface cross-contamination was the sixth most common contributing factor out of 32 in outbreaks of food-borne illnesses.

Shouldn’t people know better than to eat off the floor?
Research has shown that people think germs belong to other people, Professor Hallman said. For instance, people generally believe their bathrooms are cleaner than a public restroom. In fact, that is not the case because public restrooms are cleaned more regularly, he said in an interview. People also misunderstand the transmission of germs. “We sort of joke about the five-second rule, but people act as if germs take some period of time to race to the item that fell on the floor,” he said.

People also do not recognize the symptoms of food-borne illnesses and tend to blame them on the last thing they ate, so they do not connect how their earlier actions might have made them sick.*

 

*Article reprinted from: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/20/science/five-second-rule.html

 

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