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The Truth About The Five-Second Rule (Explained By Science)

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The age old quandary – can I still eat that?

Sure it’s been dropped onto your living room carpet, the same one that’s not been hoovered in 9 months and it’s got a few bits of weird fluff on it but, you can just pick that right off and chow down, right?

It was only on the floor for less than 5-seconds. Right?

Well… the answer is maybe. While on occasions it might very well take bacteria longer than five seconds to transfer onto your grub, you’re basically gambling with your guts.

According to a 2007 study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology (the only peer-reviewed journal on this topic) the risk of contaminating your food with dodgy bacteria is actually less to do with the time spent on the floor, and more to do with the surface.

Simply put, the cleaner the surface, the better. Which seems like common sense but it doesn’t stop there. The differences in the surface you’ve dropped your food on can also affect things.

For example, when the scientists covered a carpet in salmonella, less than 1 percent of the bacteria were transferred onto the food. When the surface was wood or tile 48 percent to 70 percent of bacteria was transferred.

So, although it will likely end up covered in fluff and awfulness, if you’re going to eat anything you drop, make sure it’s landed on the carpet we guess.

[Via: New Republic]

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