Is The '5-Second Rule' Real — Or Just A Myth?

by The Z Living Editors

In case you're one of the rare few who hasn't heard (or followed!) the infamous five-second rule, here it is: If you drop a piece of food, but pick it up within five seconds, it's still safe to eat. This informal rule of thumb is based on the somewhat dubious idea that food dropped for such a short period of time isn't able to pick up bacteria.

Now, a new study from Aston University in Birmingham, England, has blown the five second rule completely away: Researchers say shows some foods can actually last for 30 minutes on the floor before bacteria starts to form. This gave us major pause, as food — good, healthy, clean food — is close to our hearts, as our our popular shows like  Hemsley + HemsleyNow Eat This!Healthy Gourmet; Recipe Rehab; and Flip My Food can attest. So here's what we've learned — and we'd love to hear if you agree or not:

Also on Z Living: 12 Fruits & Veggies Absolutely Worth The Price Of Buying Organic

5-Seconds Until Food On The Floor Is Too Gross To Eat? Or 30 Minutes?


Researcher Anthony Hilton of Aston University claims the new rule of how long you can wait to retrieve the edible you dropped depends entirely on the nature of the floor surface and the type of food. Dry foods like biscuits, chocolate, crisps and even sandwiches can be safely eaten from the floor after spending 30 minutes on a tiled or laminate floor with little increased risk of germs; moist or oily foods like pasta, french fries, doughnuts, or toast that falls buttered-side down, should still follow the five-second rule.

Still, this new study is a stark contrast to other recent studies claiming to "debunk" the five-second rule -- like this 2016 study from Rutgers University that warns that eating any food off the floor isn't safe.

Also on Z Living: RECIPE: You'll Savor The '50 Shades Of Green' Smoothie From Julie Daniluk Of 'Healthy Gourmet'

Bottom Line? Determine Your Own Level Of Tolerance.


Mostly, a real "rule" comes down to personal preference. If the idea of eating food that’s been on the floor grosses you out, toss it. And if it doesn’t faze you at all? Go for it (especially if it's dry food). 

So what do you think? Where will you draw the line? Is food eaten off the floor disgusting...or okay?

Check out more about Healthy Gourmet. and find out where to watch the show. If you've missed an episode, or don't yet get Z Living from your provider, watch it now by signing up for Z Living GO, where you can watch all the episodes plus live TV — you'll get a free 30-day trial.

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