Sunday, July 25, 2010

Coming back for (five) seconds - The Five Second Rule


I can't believe some people - I only recently caught up with the supposed Five Second Rule and it is just bizarre.

In essence, it says that if you drop something on the floor, you have five seconds where it is safe to pick the food up. It implies that bacteria wont hop onto the food in that time.


Now, if it is a crisp (above) there will be minimum contact with the floor and most respectable bacteria would not worry about trying to live on a crisp anyway.

But what if it is a swab the surgeon is going to use on (in!) you in an operation? Still so sanguine?

The more sloppy the food, the more likelihood of bacteria hopping on board as it makes better contact with the floor.

But there are some provisos:

1. If the food is really sloppy it will leave a layer on the floor and there will not be much or any transfer onto the food.

2. The other issue is the one of what is known as the infectious dose. Sure some bacteria will get on the food but there will not be enough to make you sick unless you put it somewhere to grow the numbers a bit. eg too it into the salad you are making for lunch in three hours time.

3. What about interesting things like worm eggs from your dog, cat, hamster? (Erk!)