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Should You Follow the Five Second Rule?

It’s not known when exactly the five second rule got started, but just about everyone seems to live by it. However, is it fact or fiction that you must follow this specific countdown to avoid consuming bacteria along with your food? Will it make a difference if you wait any longer or is five seconds too long?

Is Five Seconds Too Long?

Sometimes, the floor type depends on how easy it is for bacteria to get attached to food. According to a five second food research project, dry sterile floors showed little signs of bacteria, salmonella, and E. coli because they cannot survive without moisture. Dry foods that have been dropped onto the floor may not contain bacteria but they could still pick up other pieces of dirt, dust, and hair. Either way, wet or dry, at culinary schools they teach their students that anything that food or ingredients that come into contact with the floor should be considered trash. It is also suggested that any food that has been dropped on the floor should be at least washed off first to avoid other foodborne illnesses such as fever and influenza.

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Location, Not Time Can Make Food Unsafe

According to Paul Dawson, a Clemson University food scientist, location should be a factor to consider, not time when deciding whether or not food is safe to eat once it has fallen on the floor. As mentioned before, if there is moisture, bacteria is able to thrive more but even on some dry surfaces, bacteria can survive for weeks!

Besides what Dawson has observed, bacteria’s effect on food varies depending who you talk to. In some industries such as the food business and restaurants, chefs and workers will treat anything that falls to the floor as trash but to some people it may simply not matter. But maybe you should take great consideration of you food if you drop it in a certain place. Most likely you will drop it somewhere in the kitchen where there is a cross-contamination of several food groups including the chance of bacterial contamination from raw meat.

So which locations have the most harmful bacteria? As mentioned, kitchens of course! Any uncooked meat or juice on counters, floors, etc. can create bacteria and be consumed if it comes into contact with other foods. As far as digesting bacteria, it is the same with the bathroom for obvious reasons such as the possible presence of fecal matter and other germs that could make food harmful if it comes into contact with food. Therefore in rooms such as the bathroom and the kitchen, the zero-second rule exists in place of five seconds. You could rinse off the potentially contaminated food or better yet, just throw it away to be on the safe side.

Whether you decide to wait zero seconds, five seconds or even longer it is up to your perspective. Be sure to be aware of your surroundings such as if you have been cooking any type of meat or your floors have not been clean for a while.

Author Bio :

Monica is a freelance writer. She likes to share her knowledge and information through her writing. She is particularly interested in products that can help with lifestyle. She also enjoys learning about different food recipes from around the world and new cooking skills. Kate recommends health.com.au for Australians looking for offers to switch health insurance.While not blogging and taking care of her own family, her area of interest has always been the world of Travel, Music and Sports.