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How Safe It Is to Eat Something That’s Been Dropped on the Floor

We’ve all dropped a piece of something delicious on the floor before. And this is when you think about the 5-second rule and decide whether or not to pick it up. But is it really safe to eat?

With 5-Minute Crafts, you will find out if you can eat something that’s been dropped on the floor.

What the 5-second rule is

The 5-second rule says that if you dropped something on the floor but managed to pick it up within 5 seconds, you can eat it.

Of course, anything that’s fallen on the floor is contaminated with some bacteria. But is it bad enough to cause some serious health consequences? This is what the supporters and opponents of the 5-second rule argue about.

How different foods get contaminated

Different products get contaminated differently. For example, a juicy piece of fruit will collect all the dirt from the floor like a sponge. It can absorb nastiness, such as E. coli and staph infection. But if you drop a hard pretzel, it’s not as bad.

It’s interesting to think about, but according to a study, people are more likely to eat a cookie or piece of candy from the floor than vegetables.

Experts conducted a study where they dropped some watermelon, bread and butter, and gummy bears on contaminated surfaces. Watermelon collected the most germs, and gummy bears, the least. Experts think that it’s due to the amount of water in these foods. They believe that water facilitates the transfer of bacteria.

Bread and gummy bears are drier than watermelon, so they collected fewer bacteria. But it’s still enough to make a person sick.

How much depends on the floor

What if you dropped some food on a clean floor? Unfortunately, no floor can be clean enough to eat off of. It’s covered with dust, dirt, animal fur, and so on. Even if the surface looks clean, it is still probably covered with germs.

Experts found out that food collects the least bacteria if it falls on a carpet. Carpets are actually very dirty, but thanks to the porous surface, the bacteria sits deeper. This is why it’s not that dangerous to eat food off of a carpet — but tile and wood floors are riskier.

Of course, it also matters where exactly you dropped the food. Eating something from the carpet in your living room is not as dangerous as it is from the bathroom floor.

How effective the 5-second rule really is

The amount of transferred bacteria is really affected by time. For example, in 5 seconds, fewer bacteria can get on the food than in 30 seconds. The more time your food spends on the floor, the dirtier and more dangerous it gets.

This is why the 5-second rule has its logic. The faster you pick something up, the safer it is. But you can’t know how dirty the floor really is. Experts say that germs can get on food quite fast, so there’s no safe time limit in real life.

When you pick up something off the floor and eat it, it’s always a risk, even if it’s been less than 5 seconds.

5-Minute Crafts/Health/How Safe It Is to Eat Something That’s Been Dropped on the Floor
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