The 'five-second rule' for dropping food on the floor is a real thing

Alice Sholl
Contributor
Would you eat one of these after it spending five seconds on the floor? [Photo: Pexels]

Whether it’s said sarcastically after emptying an entire soup onto your kitchen floor or making an excuse not to throw away a biscuit you dropped in your bedroom, we’ve all had someone declare the ‘five-second rule!’

For years, chocolates and pieces of toast have been spared from the bin thanks to this seemingly arbitrary time limit.

But according to food hygiene experts, this might not be as arbitrary as we might think.

We’d give this one a miss if it fell face down [Photo: Pexels]

A germ expert from Aston University, Professor Anthony Hilton, told the Metro that “food is unlikely to have picked up harmful bacteria from a few seconds spent on an indoor floor”.

Music to our ears, no?

Though instead of eating absolutely anything as long as it’s spent under five seconds touching the floor or despairingly chucking anything that remains on the ground beyond this mark, Hilton instead recommends doing a simple observation test.

He says that it’s best to check if it’s “visibly contaminated” with dirt, and avoid eating it if that’s the case.

Well, this is easier to imagine still eating than yoghurt [Photo: Pexels]

“Eating food that has spent a few moments on the floor can never be entirely risk-free,” he explained.

“Obviously, food covered in visible dirt shouldn’t be eaten, but as long as it’s not obviously contaminated, the science shows that food is unlikely to have picked up harmful bacteria from a few seconds spent on an indoor floor.”

Sounds like pretty good common sense. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have some floor toast to eat.

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