The five-second rule doesn't really exist, experiment finds

·Contributor
Blueberries
Good luck trying to pick all of these up in five seconds [Photo: Pexels]

The five-second rule has always been there for us when we’ve seriously regretted dropping a delicious snack.

But according to a new experiment, we should really stop kidding ourselves, because it doesn’t work.

A test on Channel 4’s How To Stay Well found that there’s no time window in which it’s safe to eat food after it’s been dropped on the floor as the bacteria “transfers almost instantly”.

It involved Dr Javid Abdelmoneim placing slices of carrot cake in the floor in both a kitchen and on an outside pavement.

muffin
Terrible news [Photo: Pexels]

While some were left there for 30 seconds, others were left for five before being sent to a germ-testing lab.

Professor Laura Bowater, a microbiologist from the University of East Anglia, then analysed the cake and found that regardless of whether it had been picked up after 30 or five seconds, it had the same amount of bacteria stuck to it.

They concluded that wet foods will pick up more bacteria and, of course, found that the cake left on the pavement picked up more than that in the kitchen.

Doughnuts
Drier foods stand more of a chance of being bacteria free [Photo: Pexels]

“The moist cake picked up the same bacteria, regardless of whether it was on the floor for five seconds or 30 seconds,” Bowater told the programme.

“None of the bacteria found on any of the cake would make a healthy adult or toddler sick,” she added.

“But as the number of bacteria increases, so does the risk of eating a harmful one.”

So bad news, everyone – you can stay in denial and keep swearing by the five-second rule if you like, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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