It’s a fact of life: we drop food on the ground and then, seconds later, pick it up and eat it. Whether we’re at home, at a friend’s house, or out at a restaurant, the “five second rule” is something that we’ve all relied on at one time or another. But is this rule actually based on fact, or is it just an urban legend?
Let’s start by looking at where the five second rule comes from. The most common origin story is that it was first coined by microbiologist Dr. William Frazier in 1954. Frazier was reportedly working in a laboratory when he dropped a piece of chocolate on the floor. He picked it up and ate it, and later claimed that it was “as fresh as the piece I had in my hand.”
However, there is no evidence to support this story, and Frazier is not known to have ever published any research on the subject. In fact, the earliest written mention of the five second rule is in a book published in 1980, long after Frazier’s supposed experiment.
So, if the five second rule isn’t based on science, what is it based on? It’s likely that it’s just a way to make ourselves feel better about eating food that has fallen on the ground. After all, it’s not like we’re eating food that has been sitting on the floor for hours or days (unless, of course, you’re into that sort of thing).
But even if the five second rule is nothing more than a mental trick, that doesn’t mean it’s not without merit. Studies have shown that food does not become contaminated with bacteria immediately upon contact with a contaminated surface. In fact, it can take several minutes for bacteria to transfer from a surface to food.
So, if you’re going to follow the five second rule, you might as well do it right. Here are a few tips:
– Only apply the rule to food that is unlikely to harbor harmful bacteria, such as dry foods like crackers or bread. Moist foods like meat or fruits are more likely to be contaminated and should be avoided.
– Avoid using the rule if the food has been dropped in a public place where it could be contaminated with all sorts of bacteria, such as a park or a bus stop.
– If the food has been dropped on a surface that is known to be clean, such as your kitchen counter, the risk of contamination is much lower.
– If you’re really worried about bacteria, you can always give the food a quick rinse with clean water before eating it.
So, there you have it: the truth about the five second rule. Is it based on science? No. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be useful in certain situations. Just use your best judgment and you’ll be fine.