The "five-second rule" goes something like this: Food dropped on the ground is perfectly sanitary and safe to eat -- as long as it's picked back up within five seconds. But is there any truth to the saying? Nadine Wimmer of KSL, the NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City, decided to investigate.
Wimmer took a bunch of pacifiers and graham crackers -- things mothers and their kids drop all the time -- and placed them on the ground in various places -- in a suburban mom's kitchen and driveway, and under the tables and in the walkways of a local diner. She then took the samples to Richards Laboratories in Pleasant Grove, Utah, where the five-second rule was pretty much debunked.
The kitchen was declared least gross of the four floor spaces, as the crackers dropped on on the kitchen floor showed light to moderate amounts of bacteria, and the pacifiers showed light traces of bacteria, along with yeast and mold. The crackers and pacifiers dropped on the pavement picked up bacteria, plus heavy amounts of mold and yeast. As for the stuff dropped at the diner, the tests showed light amounts of bacteria, yeast and mold on those crackers and pacifiers.
None of the tests found any serious stuff, like salmonella or strep, but "even really common bacteria can make you sick if it catches you in the right condition," says Daniel O'Brien of Richards Laboratories.
"Five seconds, one second -- it's all the same," O'Brien says. "As far as bacteria's concerned, it's all the same."
Hmm. Agree? What's your stance on the five-second rule?
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