Scientists Reveal How Long The Five Second Rule Should Actually Be



I’m not going to lie, I think I have pushed the whole fallen food thing to the 30-second-rule… okay two minutes (don’t judge me).

Unfortunately for me and all you fellow floor feeders, scientists have found you have to pick up that fallen fodder in less than a second to avoid the germs, the Metro reports.

Researcher Donald Schaffner says the five-second rule is:

A significant oversimplification of what actually happens when bacteria transfer from a surface to food.

Bacteria can contaminate instantaneously.

Transfer of bacteria from surfaces to food appears to be affected most by moisture.

Bacteria don’t have legs, they move with the moisture, and the wetter the food, the higher the risk of transfer.


The Research, from Rutgers University in New Jersey, was published in the American Society for Microbiology’s journal.

Common bacteria was applied to to samples of four different surfaces commonly found in the home – stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood and carpet before the researchers dropped watermelon, gummy candy, and both buttered and unbuttered bread onto them.

I’ve always been in denial, but they found that the longer you leave it there, the more bacteria transfers. But that the type of food and surface is just as, or more, important (obviously yoghurt and bathroom floor are a terrible combination that I would never do).

The result may be that eating food off the floor is bad for you. But I think that my body will have built up its own resistance to floor food (that’s my excuse for carrying on anyway).