For 40-something years, I have been under the impression that if you dropped food on the floor and you picked it up really fast, you could still safely eat it. In most circles, this is known as “The Five Second Rule” (and for the more fastidious, “The Three Second Rule”). This applied to anything that could easily be shaken or blown off such as a cookie or a pacifier. It does not apply to something sticky like a lollipop or a PB & J sandwich, for obvious reasons.
Anyway, in a recent news report, scientists REFUTED the Five Second Rule.
In the Journal of Applied Microbiology, which is something I routinely read for fun, a study was published that showed that salmonella and other bacteria can live up to four weeks on dry surfaces and immediately transfer to foods.
This flies in the face of an earlier study which showed that it took almost five minutes for Skittles candies to collect bacteria when they were dropped on the floor.
I’m not sure if this says more about the bacteria on the floor… or the Skittles.
Of course, not all floors are created equal. It seems that if you are going to drop your food on the floor and then eat it, you are better off dropping it on the sidewalk, outside, than on the kitchen floor in your house. While most of us like to think that we are world class housekeepers, the truth of the matter is, our kitchen floors are about the dirtiest, most disgusting, bacteria-laden places in the universe. But if you’d even seen my kitchen floor, you probably already knew that.
So what does this mean for mankind?
1. We need to do a better job cleaning our Kitchen’s.
2. People who blow off their baby’s binkies when they fall on the sidewalk and pop it back in the kids mouth, are probably ok.
3. We would probably all be a lot healthier if we ate more Skittles.