|The 5-Second Rule: Is it Safe to Eat?||| Print ||
|Written by Kim Droze|
|Monday, 24 May 2010 15:03|
We've all heard the old wives' tale that if food dropped on the ground or other surface is picked up within five seconds that it's safe to eat. If you have small kids who drop food on a regular basis and stuff it right into their little mouths, then a little reassurance goes a long way. But is the "5-second rule" really true? Believe it or not, several scientific experiments have studied the idea. In fact, a high school student tested the theory while completing an internship. She dropped cookies and gummi bears on rough and smooth sterile tile that had been coated with a measured amount of the bacteria E. coli. Within five seconds, germs were transferred from both surfaces to the food. Many people become familiar with the "rule" in the restaurant industry, where dropping a steak or piece of fish can affect the bottom line when thrown out.
But in the case of moist foods like meat, apple slices and gum, bacteria is more likely to attach more quickly to these surfaces than they are dry foods. Restaurant inspectors say that any food dropped on the floor or even a seemingly sanitized countertop should be thrown out. A box of produce that's been set on the floor then lifted to the counter picks up the same germs as the bottoms of shoes and will transfer those germs in its travels. Bottom line? When food is dropped in a public place, pick it up with a napkin and throw it away. Experts say that food dropped in the home, where "your" germs lurk, is probably OK, especially after giving it a wash. But to avoid getting sick, when in doubt, throw it out. After all, 5,000 people per year die after contracting foodborne illness - and it takes just five seconds.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 05 July 2012 08:47|