I think most everyone has heard of the "five-second rule"- whether you actually use it is another story. It's that rule people follow thinking it's perfectly okay to eat something that has fallen on the floor as long as it doesn't sit there for more than five seconds. When you really think about it, I'm not sure why anyone would believe that something that has fallen onto a filthy floor might somehow be safe to eat simply because you have a speedy reaction picking it up. I will admit, there were times when a precious, costly supplement fell on the floor and I'd snatch it up, wipe it off and slug it down, but not anymore. After I had some digestive issues, unrelated to the Ulcerative Colitis- some nasty bacteria that I needed to use heavy duty antibiotics for- I decided it wasn't worth the risk, even if that wasn't how I picked up the nasty bug.
As it turns out, that five-second rule is totally bogus, so you might want to reconsider picking up that delectable piece of chocolate that fell on the floor and just chuck it into the garbage.
You see, scientists from various institutions, including S.C. Clemson University food scientist Paul Dawson, have conducted research and found a whole bevy of buggies can collect on food items in less than five seconds.
San Diego State in conjunction with Clorox also did some research, and it's not just dirty floors we have to worry about
...dried fruit can pick up dangerous bacteria in under five seconds, while pasta can pick up dangerous bacteria in just three.
To come to their conclusion that the five-second-rule is mere myth, the group dropped baby carrots on different surfaces, including a countertop, a kitchen sink, a table, a high chair tray and both a carpeted and tiled floor, according to ABC.
The group found the countertop to be the dirtiest surface, followed closely by the carpet and tile floor.
"We wanted to know if there was any truth to the theory that bacteria need time to attach to surfaces of fallen food or commonly dropped items like sippy cups," Dr. Scott Kelley, Associate Professor of Biology at San Diego State University, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, for those of us who lived by that rule, it looks like a total myth – five seconds is all it takes."
Discovery Channel's Mythbusters conducted its own experiment. And they say toilet seats are cleaner than floors. Ick.