At some point in time, we would have dropped a piece of food on the floor or table, then ate it up. As long as it was picked up within five seconds, it should be fine, right?
Many sceptics would be appalled by that, but it turns out that there is truth behind the five-second rule and for certain foods, that five-second rule could also be prolonged to half an hour.
According to researchers at Aston University, dry, rigid foods like chocolate, toast or crackers can be left for half an hour and won’t lure more bacteria within the time.
With that said, the five-second rule applies for pasta and sweets which attract more germs when left on the floor for an extended amount of time.
The researchers tested the five-second rule with many foods on an array of surfaces like the carpet, tiles and linoleum. Amongst those surfaces, it’s the safest to consume food dropped on carpeted floors as it had the lowest bacteria levels.
On the other hand, if the food drops on a laminated or tiled floor, picking it up swiftly or just binning it would be your best bet. It would be too contaminated over time.
The rule of thumb here is that dry, hard foods don’t pick up much bacteria when dropped on the floor, whereas damper, stickier foods are at more risk of inviting extra germs.