Have you ever dropped a coveted piece of food, only to pick it right back up, citing the "five-second rule"? I've always wondered whether this cultural phenomenon could actually contain an iota of truth. If something's only been dropped for a moment, does that mean it potentially picked up fewer germs?
A recent New York Times article sets the record straight. The five-second rule should really become the zero-second rule, because the time on the floor doesn't at all change the risk. In fact, a 2007 Clemson University study indicated that 99 percent of bacteria was transferred nearly immediately, and neither contact time nor various surfaces (wood, tile, carpet) affected the bacteria count.
Does this change your attitude toward food that's been dropped — if only for a second?