Do you obey the 5 second rule?
The rule says that when food falls on the floor, it is still ok to eat it if you pick it up in less than 5 seconds.
I do not know if the 5 second rule refers to EVERY floor. But for the purpose of this post and to help you answer, I will assume that this floor is the floor in your home because really, who picks up food from floor outside their homes?
If you believe in the 5 second rule, there’s a research that will help you feel better.
Kelly Reynolds, Pamela Watt, Stephanie Boone and Charles Gerba of University of Arizona carried out a research on the occurrence of coliform bacteria on public surfaces. Coliform bacteria are commonly used as an indicator of the sanitary quality of foods and water. Coliform bacteria may not cause illness but their presence in drinking water and food indicates that disease-causing organisms (pathogens) could be in that water or food.
They found that the kitchen floor was likely to harbor, on average, about 2 colonies per square inch of coliform bacteria. One colony of bacteria is made up of multiple microorganisms that are all from one mother cell. They also found that there are 5 colonies per square inch on the refrigerator handle and 6 colonies per squeare inch on the kitchen counter! Woo! That means the kitchen floor is the cleanest and the least contaminated of kitchen surfaces!
In the bathroom, they found the following:
- 1 colony per square inch on the toilet seat. Only??? 😀
- 16 colonies per square inch on the bathroom tap.
- 35 colonies per square inch on the flush handle.
Now, I’m never going to touch that toilet flush handle again! 😀
The conclusion from all of this is that the more hands touch a surface, the dirtier and more contaminated it will be. Now, I’m thinking about the remote control, my laptop keyboard, light switches, ATM keypad, elevator buttons etc. 😉
In spite of the above finding that says that the floor is cleaner than lots of surfaces we do not worry about, I pick up and eat food like cookies (biscuits) because they are dry but I will not pick up a lot of other foods especially wet/damp/sticky food because once such food touches the floor, I believe it must pick up not only bacteria but any debris on that floor.
And to support this my belief, there’s another research on how different foods pick up bacteria when they fall on the floor. In this research, four different surfaces: stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood and carpet were tested using four different foods (watermelon, bread, bread with butter and gummy sweets). They also looked at four different contact times: less than one second, five, 30 and 300 seconds.
In the end, they concluded that the transfer of bacteria from surfaces to food is mostly affected by moisture. Bacteria move with the moisture, and the wetter the food, the higher the risk of transfer. And the longer the food is in contact with the surface, more bacteria will be transferred from the surface to the food. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
For my kids, I teach them not to eat any food that falls on the floor simply because they are still young and they will not understand this dry versus wet approach. Keep it simple. lol
So do you believe in the 5 second rule? What do you do when your food falls on the floor? Do you look left and right to check if anybody is looking at you before deciding on what to do? 😀
♥ ♥ ♥