The truth behind the 'five-second rule' for dropped food

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The truth behind the 'five-second rule' for dropped food

You just dropped your gumdrops on the floor. What are you gonna do now? Pick them up and eat them or toss them in the trash because you think they're contaminated.

Chances are you fall into one of two categories of people. Those who subscribe to the '5 second rule' and assume dropped food is safe for about five seconds And those who think it's nasty. It's enough to give even this cardinal pause.

So it's time to break down the '5 second rule,' and find out what really happens to food when you drop it on the floor. Scientists say even the cleanest floor has plenty of bacteria, but most of them are harmless. However, as soon as any food touches the floor, "Of course it will pick up dirt."

Even still, Jack Gilbert says he would eat food that he dropped, so long as the environment was reasonably safe, and not a plague pit like say, the platform at any New York City subway station.

If there are harmful pathogens on your floor, they could also be lurking in other areas like your door handle, remote control or your kitchen counter. So sticking to the rule isn't going to prevent you from getting sick.

Besides, other scientists like Katherine Amato of Northwestern University says exposure to microbes can lead to a healthy immune system! And when this happens, Amato says, "Go ahead and eat it." That advice will be tough for germaphobes to swallow.

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