(WTVO) — We hate to break it to you, but the “five-second rule” is a myth.
If you have ever dropped food on the floor and then picked it up, blown it off, and eaten it thinking everything will be fine, you’re wrong, according to a new study by Rutgers University.
According to the study, bacteria can transfer to food in less than a second.
Professor Donald Schaffner, who led the research — published in the American Society for Microbiology’s journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology — said he used watermelon, bread, and gummy bears for his tests by dropping them on stainless steel, ceramic tiles, wood, and carpet, for less than one second at first, then five, 30, and 300 seconds.
After 2,560 tests, researchers found the bacteria that carry salmonella was present in every sample.
“We decided to look into this because the practice is so widespread. The topic might appear ‘light’ but we wanted our results backed by solid science,” Schaffner said.
Schaffner did say some of the foods and surfaces were more likely to pick up the bacteria than others: watermelon and carpet fared the worst.
“The five-second rule is a significant oversimplification of what actually happens when bacteria transfer from a surface to food,” Schaffner said. “Bacteria can contaminate instantaneously.”