Blogging NYT: The Five Second Rule

Blogging NYT: The Five Second Rule

May 16, 2007

You know the rules ... drop it on the floor, and it is still safe to eat, as long as you pick it up in five seconds. According to research done by Jillian Clarke, a high school intern at the University of Illinois, slightly more than half of the men and 70 percent of the women knew of the five-second rule, and many said they followed it.

So she did some experimenting, to see just how much those five seconds could contaminate our food.

A few gummy bears and a dish of E. Coli later, and she had an 2004 Ig Nobel Prize in public health. Professors at Clemson expanded the research, and found some surprising things, including the fact that salmonella can live 28 days on a kitchen surface.

So what about you, or your kids? Strong believer in the five second rule? Grossed out by the thought of eating something that has been on the floor? Somewhere in between?

Photo: "Dirty Floor Mosaic", The Vatican Museum

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