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The Five Second Rule: Picking Up Food Off the Floor

Do you pick up food off the floor by invoking the “five second rule?” A preliminary study from Aston University in the U.K is backing up that claim. The study covered two of the most common bacteria, E. Coli and Staphylococcus aureus.

Their findings support the idea that there really is such a thing as the five-second rule for moist snacks, such as wet pasta and sticky gummy bears.[Source: NPR’s The Salt “Five Second Rule Science: With Carpet There’s No Rush“]

Dry foods like potato chips and cookies didn’t pickup many more bacteria even after waiting 30 seconds. And if you drop food on the carpet, the risk is even lower. Obviously wet items will pick up more on carpets, especially if you have pets.

The findings are still preliminary and much of this depends on how clean your floor is. Scientists at the Smithsonian remind us that it’s like playing “Russian Roulette with your gut.” Picking up food comes with risk so if you’re going to do it, make it quick.


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