The five second rule applies to dropped food – really?

More than half of us will eat off our own floors…


…but only about one in five would trust somebody else’s.

When I was a kid I was sure my family applied a ‘three-second’ rule to any dropped sweets, sausages, pieces of toast or other consumables that found their way to the floor.

Turns out we were being pernickety now that scientists have confirmed that five seconds is probably not enough time for food to be contaminated by germs or bacteria on a floor (depending on the floor of course).

A study, undertaken by scientists at The Big Bang Fair in Birmingham, shows that around four out of five people (79%) admit to popping fallen food in our mouths.

Of course most people think their own floors are cleaner and thus it's more acceptable to eat food off - 56 per cent of them in fact - but that figure drops considerably to just 17 per cent if eating off another's floor.

The research also shows people are just as likely to serve food that's fallen on the floor to their dog (18 per cent) as they are their partner (17 per cent).

The most radical examples of 'hoovers' include people eating snacks off the floor of the cinema (2 per cent) or public transport (1 per cent).

But when asked to justify why they would do thIs, a fifth of people admitted to following the 'five-second rule', which scientists have now revealed as legitimate and safe in most cases.

That is according to germ expert, Professor Anthony Hilton from Aston University, who told the Birmingham Mail; "Eating food that has spent a few moments on the floor can never be entirely risk free.

"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."

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