The 5 Second Rule Debunked
I will admit that I’ve operated a microwave way too early in the morning. I did this while nursing a cup of coffee to the tune of hungry screaming children. All they wanted was nothing less than chicken nuggets for breakfast, much like me with my coffee. My little guy was so happy to receive his little nugget while we watched a purple dinosaur trying to fly on television. In his enthusiasm of mimicking the flying dinosaur, he dropped his little nugget on the floor.
I will also admit that the last thing I was going to do was take that sweet little kids lone nugget that made him so happy. I watched him teeter and totter while he bend over to pick it back up and plop, in his mouth it went. Away he bounced back into rhythm with the dancing, without missing a beat. I didn’t dare try to intervene. Nope, I wasn’t going to be the parent who threw it away right in front of his tender little eyes. Yeah, definitely a bad parenting moment for sure but what the heck, the ‘Five-Second-Rule’, right?
My floors aren’t dirty, I just moped a few days ago, right?
Well, not really. Come to find out, a study debunked the so-called five-second rule and it suggests otherwise.
Professor Donald Schaffer, the lead food microbiologist at Ruters University in New Jersey, said in a two-year study he led, no matter how fast you pick up food that has been dropped to the ground, it will come back to you with added bacteria. He also cited research by the Centers for Disease Control saying, the sixth most common contributing factor for food-borne illnesses is cross-contamination. The original list consists of 32 possible causes for food-borne illness outbreaks.
So, how dirty is the floor?
Professor Schaffer said that, “Bacteria can contaminate instantaneously.” Carpet had a low rate of contamination transmission while tile and stainless steel surfaces had the quickest contamination rates.
I personally remember freaking out when my first born dropped his pacifier on the ground. I couldn’t give it back to him until I fully cleaned it off. By the time my last child did the same, I weighted the chances of contamination versus the screaming and I decided, what the heck. I knocked off the sand, rinsed it with my water bottle and jammed it back in his mouth. Luckily, he’s a healthy and vibrant full grown man despite me almost poisoning him with that thing!
But seriously, the point is that just because we can’t see them, doesn’t mean they aren’t there and a real threat. There might not be as many bad germs on wooden patio decks as there are on hospital linoleum floors but they are there, nonetheless.
I always say, “Staying preventative will stave off the need for reactivity.”
I suppose I don’t have to tell you but, don’t eat food that has fallen to the ground. That especially goes for the men since 36% of men polled by the magazine, “Scientific American”, reported that they ate food that was on the ground longer than the ‘Five-Second-Rule’. Only 19% of women said that they ate food that fell and remained on the ground for more than the ‘Five-Second-Rule’.
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