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
SEP 24, 2020
Plants & Animals
Cuvier's Beaked Whale Sets New Diving Record
SEP 24, 2020
Cuvier's Beaked Whale Sets New Diving Record
Marine mammals are uniquely adapted to dive to incredible depths. New research from Duke University Marine Laboratory do ...
OCT 15, 2020
Health & Medicine
An Estimated 38 Million People were Exposed to Polluted Wildfire Smoke
OCT 15, 2020
An Estimated 38 Million People were Exposed to Polluted Wildfire Smoke
As wildfires continue to burn record-breaking acreages along the west coast of the United States and inland regions, hos ...
NOV 12, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Can a Chemical Be Both Nurturing and Destructive?
NOV 12, 2020
Can a Chemical Be Both Nurturing and Destructive?
On August 4, a megascale explosion almost leveled half of Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon. At the center of the negl ...
JAN 08, 2021
Space & Astronomy
New Findings Suggest Dark Matter Doesn't Exist
JAN 08, 2021
New Findings Suggest Dark Matter Doesn't Exist
The existence of dark matter has been considered a 'given' for decades as a way to understand some of the less e ...
FEB 10, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Do Salt and Melting Ice Cause Landslides on Mars?
FEB 10, 2021
Do Salt and Melting Ice Cause Landslides on Mars?
Recurrent slope lineae (RSL) are dark flows that extend downhill on Mars to form sandy patterns on its surface. Research ...
APR 01, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Detect X-rays from Uranus for First Time
APR 01, 2021
Astronomers Detect X-rays from Uranus for First Time
Until now, astronomers had detected X-rays from every planet in our solar system apart from the two Ice Giants: Uranus a ...
Loading Comments...