Professor Anthony Hilton, a germ expert from Aston University, has confirmed what every parent and clumsy person has known all along, “Eating food that has spent a few moments on the floor can never be entirely risk-free.”
After a survey of 2,000 people found that 79% of people admitted to eating food they had dropped on the floor, Professor Hilton decided to demonstrate the ‘five-second rule’ at The Big Bang Fair – a celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for young people – in the UK.
From the Independent, Professor Hilton says, “Obviously, food covered in visible dirt shouldn’t be eaten, but as long as it’s not obviously contaminated, the science shows that food is unlikely to have picked up harmful bacteria from a few seconds spent on an indoor floor. That is not to say that germs can’t transfer from the floor to the food.”
“Our research has shown that the nature of the floor surface, the type of food dropped on the floor and the length of time it spends on the floor can all have an impact on the number that can transfer.”
So if you drop food on the floor don’t worry, you’ll probably be okay. But if you’re worried that the food might be contaminated, the best thing to do is give it to your kid or significant other to eat first. If they don’t get sick, your food is safe.