Experiments

5 Second Rule With Food On Floor

posted: 03/25/13
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As seen in "MythBusters: Chinese Invasion Alarm"
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Finding: BUSTED

Explanation:Whoever came up with "five-second rule" had probably just dropped an entire cookie on the ground and needed a sanitary excuse to save it. But according to research from Clemson University food scientist Paul Dawson, that cookie could've picked up toxic salmonella bacteria during that brief time window, especially on a tiled or wooden surface.

When MythBusters Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage bit into the same popular presumption, they realized that different foods produce a smorgasbord of results. Comparing the bacteria colonies picked up by dry saltines and wet pastrami after the sodium-rich snackshung out on a contaminated floor for a few seconds, Jamie and Adam noticed the moist sausage scooped up far more flora.

When the MythBusters then analyzed food-free contact plates that had spent two- and six-second intervals on a contaminated surface, the "five-second rule" quickly crumbled. Even if something spends a mere millisecond on the floor, it attracts bacteria. How dirty it gets depends on the food's moisture, surface geometry and floor condition - not time.

That spells sad news for clumsy eaters everywhere: The "five-second rule" myth is busted.

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