The 5-Second Rule: Fact or Fiction?

When you drop something delicious on the floor, is it safe to eat it?
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The 5-Second Rule: Fact or Fiction?

Almost anywhere people prepare food, you'll hear someone call out the five-second rule.

According to the rule, it’s safe to eat something that fell on the floor, as long as it’s picked up within 5 seconds. Supposedly, microorganisms that inhabit the floor are just unable to crawl up your food.

Is the 5-second rule true, though?

dropped ice cream on the flor
Moist and sticky food is likely to have more bacteria on it after being dropped.

One group of researchers tested the 5-second rule and found out that moisture, the surface type, and contact time contribute to the degree of cross-contamination. Yes, they really have conducted an actual study of the rule. Here’s what they have found out: 

  • Moist and sticky food is likely to have more bacteria on it after being dropped.
  • Dropping food on a carpet is safer than dropping it on a wooden or tiled floor.

So, is it 100% safe to pick up your blueberry muffin from the carpet really quick? 

The short answer is no. If you’re in doubt, most scientists say that the safest thing is to just throw it out. Even if your blueberry muffin smells absolutely delicious. 

So, does the 5-second rule work?
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