FEB 03, 2016 12:35 PM PST

Is There a Such Thing as the "5 Second Rule" When Food Falls?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard


There's this thing called the "5 second rule" that lots of people have believed for ages. It's where when food falls on the ground, you have 5 seconds to pick it up and eat it before loads of bacteria actually get to the food and could make you ill.

But how true is this theory?

Most bacteria move very slowly - about 0.00045 miles per hour - which is 67 times slower than a garden snail, but the moment your food comes in contact with the ground, there will be immediate bacteria transfer between the surface of the ground and the surface of the food you have dropped.

Moist foods do have a 30-second rule, which is where moist food left on the ground for longer than 30 seconds will sop up all kinds of bacteria you wouldn't believe. This includes E-Coli and salmonella. Dry foods falling on dry ground, on the other hand, are far more likely to be safe to eat after just five seconds on the ground.

Watch people's reactions are they're asked to eat cookies that fall on the ground in the name of science!

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
DEC 10, 2019
Earth & The Environment
DEC 10, 2019
NOAA Unveils Florida Keys Reef Restoration Program
Earlier this week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced "Mission: Iconic Reefs"—a new strategy to restore a...
DEC 30, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 30, 2019
How SpaceX's Crew Dragon Will Operate, From Start to Finish
It’s no mystery by now that SpaceX is working hard to earn the right to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station via NASA’s Commerci...
JAN 07, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 07, 2020
Baby Penguins Are Often Bullied to Death by Adults
Most people envision penguins as fun, happy-go-lucky birds residing in the Earth’s chilly polar regions, but that’s not always the case. In fac...
JAN 12, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 12, 2020
TESS Finds its First Earth-Sized World in a Star's Habitable Region
Astronomers are continuously searching for exoplanets in the deepest reaches of our galaxy, and while the Kepler Space Telescope might be a thing of the pa...
JAN 20, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 20, 2020
SpaceX Demos Crew Dragon Launch Escape for NASA
SpaceX is one of two major players in NASA’s Commercial Crew program, an attempt to use third-party space companies to bring crewed space launches ba...
JAN 23, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 23, 2020
Yes, Stress Can Turn Your Hair Gray
Stress and gray hair have always been closely associated, and now, scientists from Harvard have discovered the physiological mechanism that validates this...
Loading Comments...