Can you really eat food that has been on the ground for less than 5 seconds?

Can you really eat food that has been on the ground for less than 5 seconds?

It’s a rule that you probably know: a food that falls on the ground, if it remains on the ground for less than five seconds, may be eaten. What should we think ? Advice from Gérald Kierzek, emergency doctor and medical director of TipsForWomens.

The scene is classic: a food that you (or your child) were eating slips out of your hands and ends up on the floor. What should be done ? Eat it ? Throw it ? A rule is that if the food stays on the ground for less than five seconds, it can be eaten. Is it true ?

It all depends on the ground where the food falls

Many of us know this rule and surely apply it too. This is because our brain associates the time a food spends on the ground with the accumulation of bacteria within it. So this adage is true, but other parameters come into account.

Different studies have been carried out with various foods and the five second rule does indeed apply, but the composition of the soil also matters. When comparing tiled, parquet or carpeted floors, scientists noted that carpet contaminates food much less quickly.

But also the food in question

In addition to the soil, the food in question also matters. If it is a piece of fruit, a candy, or bread (with butter or not), the contamination times will be different. This time it is the humidity of the food that comes into play.

A fruit like a piece of watermelon, for example, will be contaminated more quickly. The rest is a matter of common sense: a visibly soiled food should not be eaten, but a piece of biscuit fallen on the clean kitchen floor could be.

“Too much hygiene kills hygiene”

As Dr. Gérald Kierzek, emergency physician and medical director of TipsForWomens, points out: “Too much hygiene kills hygiene” first denounces the doctor. “Dropping a biscuit and eating it afterwards poses no risk, you have to remain reasonable. In the same way, for example, for a child, if his lollipop falls, you can put it back in his mouth, without necessarily rinsing it Confronting ubiquitous bacteria even contributes to development of the immune system he concludes.