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Scientific fact…or psychological reflection?  Science has decided!

Scientific fact…or psychological reflection? Science has decided!

So, this 5-second rule: a proven microbiological fact… or an ancient psychological reaction?

A five-second delay after the food falls to the floor

“againstIs it good, can I eat it? I picked it up before the recommended 5 seconds! ‚ÄúThese famous five seconds are an argument to authority. The principle is simple: food that has fallen on the floor should not be eaten if it remains upside down on the floor for more than five seconds. Before, there was no danger in consuming it.

We have heard about these five seconds since childhood. Now it's more of a game or an old habit than a real conviction. However, she walks unconsciously.

What does science say about this rule that governs the edibility of products that have fallen to the ground?

Foods pick up bacteria immediately, a 2007 study found

The question that arises when checking this rule is: Within what time frame can bacteria adhere to food and contaminate it?

As food scientist Donald Schaffner explainsRutgers UniversityThere have been many (wrong) answers to this same question, because much research that does not meet scientific standards has been widely published.

One of the only rigorous, peer-reviewed investigations into the famous five-second rule was conducted in 2007 by Paul Dawson, a food scientist at Clemson University. The study's conclusions were clear: Once in contact with a surface, food can immediately pick up bacteria.

It all depends on the nature of the food and the nature of the surface

However, this study focused more on the lifespan of bacteria in food. For this reason, in 2016, Schaffner and his student, Robin Miranda, decided to conduct experiments with several foods under different conditions.

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The conclusion is logical: food picks up bacteria immediately, but the number of bacteria present will depend on the time the product spends on the floor.

According to Donald Schaffner's observations, “wet” foods such as watermelon, apple slices, tomatoes, etc. pick up more bacteria than drier foods, such as crackers or bread.

99% of the time, it's safe!

Hence, carpets and rugs emit less bacteria than tiles or stainless steel. In addition to the floor, other contacts can transfer bacteria or microbes to your food, such as poorly washed hands or cutlery, poorly wiped cutting boards, etc.

Finally, is it really dangerous to consume a product that has fallen on the floor? In most cases no:“It's probably safe ninety-nine percent of the time.” concludes Donald Schaffner. And as the article of National Geographic : The five-second rule is ultimately more psychological than microbiological.

source : Slate, National Geographic, ASM Journals