Five Second Rule for dropped food? Try 30

June 13, 2007

clipped from

One woman is eating a hamburger.

A man drops a brownie on the floor. If he picks it up within five seconds, should he still eat it? Two U.S. students claim the answer is yes.

In fact, they say he could wait half a minute.

The students, who are seniors at Connecticut College, studied the Five Second Rule as part of their microbiology class.

“It is an eye-opener,” student Molly Goettsche told ABC News. “There may be a little more time than just seconds.”

First they dropped Skittles candy and apple slices on the school’s dining hall floor for different lengths of time.

Then they swabbed the food for samples and checked for any bacteria.

Their conclusions may be a relief to those who rescue fallen food: it took more than 30 seconds for bacteria to cultivate on the apple slices, which represented wet food.

As for the Skittles, which stood in for dry food, it took longer than a minute.

But despite their findings, the students said they would never eat anything that’s hit the ground.

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