Crop from Greg Williams' Wikiworld, via wikimedia commons (CC).

Crop from Greg Williams’ Wikiworld, via wikimedia commons (CC).

Happy Wednesday! In putting together next week’s Mother’s Day post, the issue of the “5 second rule” came to mind. I thought I’d dig a little deeper. Where did it come from? How many people eat food they’ve dropped? In their decision to still eat the food, does it matter where they dropped it, or what it was? These are the things I ponder on my hump day morning.

Well, this might tempt me… (pic by K.B. Owen)

Not that I actually eat food dropped on the floor, mind you. πŸ˜‰


Here are a few tidbits I found along the way:

  • InΒ one survey, 87% of the people said they’ve eaten (or would eat) food dropped on the floor.
  • 55% of those people were women.
  • sweet foods were more likely to be eaten after being dropped.
  • Salmonella can survive up to 28 days on surfaces like tile, wood, and carpeted floors.
  • the transfer of germs onto food happens immediately upon contact.
  • A 2007 study at Clemson University found that length of time on the floor makes a difference: bologna and bread slices had 10 times more bacteria after one minute than they had after 5 seconds.
  • carpeting doesn’t transfer bacteria to dropped food as effectively as other surfaces (but do you really want carpet fibers stuck on there? Ick).

Basically, there may be yucky stuff on that Oreo, so it’s better to toss it.

Here’s a Mythbusters’ segment on the 5-second rule. I love these guys!


Dropped snack? No sweat! Study reveals 5-second rule is real –

“5-second rule” rules, sometimes (WebMD)

Dropped your toast? (Science Daily)

Fact or Fiction? The 5-second rule for dropped food (Scientific American)


Do you follow the 5-second rule? What helps you decide? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,


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