close
Advertisement
Magazine

Can You Eat Food 5 Seconds After it Falls on the Floor?

Can You Eat Food 5 Seconds After it Falls on the Floor?

Can You Eat Food 5 Seconds After it Falls on the Floor?
Thinkstock

Where Did the Myth Come From?

You often hear people say it as they scoop some food they’ve just dropped up off the floor before popping it in their mouths. It’s not entirely clear where the “rule” comes from, but it’s so firmly entrenched in folklore that many believe it’s a fact.

What’s the Truth?

Studies have shown that bacteria and viruses can contaminate food more or less instantaneously when it’s dropped. There was no difference in rates of contamination before food left for one or six seconds. However, after one minute, contamination rates are about ten times higher. Most bugs cause no harm, but there are several nasty ones including norovirus, salmonella and C. difficile that can be tracked into the home on footwear and will quickly contaminate dropped food.

So, Should We Worry About it, Or Not?

The moisture levels and surface shape of the food have been found to affect how many bugs attach to it, as well as where it’s dropped – high traffic areas have more bacteria and viruses than others. In general though, it’s a judgement call whether you want to eat something after it’s been on the floor – just don’t assume that if you rush to pick it up in under five seconds, it’ll be safe.



More in Tips/Advice

How Thieves Steal Your Identity

11 Ways Thieves Steal Your Identity

Watch out: These former identity thieves confess the tricks they use to scam you right under your nose.
6 Magic Phrases That Can Save an Awkward Conversation

6 Magic Phrases That Can Save an Awkward Conversation

A compliment, a question, and a game can get anyone to like you. Memorise them.
This Is the Scientific Secret Behind the Perfect Cup of Coffee

This Is the Scientific Secret Behind the Perfect Cup of Coffee

Everyone prefers coffee differently. Some people take it with cream, some with sugar. But when it comes to the brew, there are scientific best practices.
What is lactose intolerance

What is lactose intolerance?

A high proportion of the world's population is not able to digest the lactose (milk sugars) in milk because of a deficiency in the enzyme lactase.
I Am an Adult Living With ADHD

I Am an Adult Living With ADHD

A growing number of parents are learning they also have ADHD after witnessing their kids get diagnosed.
Advertisement