First things first, you’re not the only one! We’re all guilty of it; dropping a brownie on the floor that we were really getting into and savouring, only to pick it up within the 5 seconds of it hitting the ground hoping it’s safe to eat. Well, here’s some news for you. Researchers and even Discovery channel Mythbusters have proved that the age-old rule is actually just a myth.

But what really is the 5-second rule?

The rule about picking food that you dropped on the floor within the first 5 seconds of you having dropped it makes it safe to eat. Well, that’s what we all tell ourselves and hopefully believe in this false-based bit of solace, and I’m here to tell you that it’s a myth.

Truth is, time has nothing to do with whether the food is clean enough to eat.

The University of Illinois entrusted one of their bright interns to conduct a research project to test the validity of the rule. Floors around the university halls were swabbed and the swab examined for microbial organisms considering the time difference. Turns out that swabs placed within and outside the 5-second time period had the same amount of microbes on it (which weren’t too many in any case).

The deciding factor relies more on the moisture content and shape of the food and the floor.

While it might take microbes only microseconds to pass along to your delicious meal, it depends more on the amount of moisture on the floor and the food, that makes the real difference. Since, foods with higher moisture content will attract more microbes than those that are dry. And, floors with higher moisture content might harbour more microbes than those dry. Obviously with shape, the larger the surface is of the food item, the more germs you get.

So, the next time you drop something on the floor, beware of what it was and where it was. A few more seconds taken to figure this out, might actually help you than harm.

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Knowledge well dispensed.