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Old 01-11-2012, 01:24 AM   #1
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Who believes/follows the 5 second rule?

just wondering, how many people practice the five minute rule of eating food dropped on the floor...this theory holds that food that has fallen to the floor is still safe to eat if it is "rescued" in five seconds or less.

i only first heard of this 5 second rule several months ago, when it was showcased on a tv show called what would you do...i was stunned. how could anyone, i thought, believe such an obvious dirty little lie? of course, at home i routinely drop and eat food off my own floor. not to say that this is a hygienic or safe practice, but still...it's MY floor and my dirt. :)

but the idea of the 5 minute rule still fascinated me for a bit. even if i believed the rule and decided to try it out, i know it wouldn't work for me. i know that from the moment the food hit the floor my mind would be furiously racing with questions: what kind of food is it--wet or dry, soft or hard, how badly do i want it (cheese/chocolate or celery stick/lemon slice) and so on. next, my mind would be frantically evaluating the floor itself--its location, its condition, its type (hardwood/concrete/carpet...and, of course, who is watching what i'm maybe about to do....

so, you see, all these considerations would take someone like me much longer than even a 30 second rule would allow. i'd likely be pondering the proposition
of the dropped food with all its variables, not for 5 seconds, but more like five minutes. that food would go stale or somebody would step on it before i could make up my mind whether or not to eat it....

so, what do you all think about this sports-sounding five second rule of dropped food--is it fair or is it foul? your call.... :)


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Old 01-11-2012, 01:35 AM   #2
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it depends on many variables that require a differential equation to figure out.

first, is the food washable after being dropped, before it is cooked. what about afterwards?

how dirty is the floor? are we camping, or are we in my mom's kitchen, which is suitable for performing neurosurgery

i wouldn't eat a fully cooked piece of chicken that was dropped while camping on the beach, but i'd lick up a s'more if i dropped it in my mom's kitchen, no hands needed...

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Old 01-11-2012, 08:35 AM   #3
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When I was a kid, it was the three second rule. I guess we've all slowed down a couple of seconds.

If it's just me, I do the 5 second rule (or as long as it takes me to bend over and reach the floor). If I'm cooking for others, never.
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Old 01-11-2012, 09:28 AM   #4
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Believe it or not, the 5-second rule has actually been thoroughly researched, and it's been determined that bacteria such as salmonella and e. coli can infect food in less than 5 seconds.

Five-second rule - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As for my own feelings, it depends on what I've dropped. If it's a piece of meat, forget about it. It goes in the trash. On the other hand, if it's a vegetable that I haven't yet peeled - for example, an onion or potato - I'll just wash it off and proceed with it. I figure my kitchen floor is cleaner than the dirt it grew in.

That's just what I do. YMMV.
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Old 01-11-2012, 09:29 AM   #5
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If something falls on the floor, my dog grabs it before 5 seconds are up!
In our house, dog hair is a condiment!
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Old 01-11-2012, 09:37 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Silversage View Post
If something falls on the floor, my dog grabs it before 5 seconds are up!
LOL... yah, no kiddin'. I have one of those "chow hounds" too.
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Old 01-11-2012, 09:40 AM   #7
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We fall within the Andy M./buckytom range.

First, let me say that our kitchen floor gets scrubbed a minimum of once a week. Many times multiple times. Just because I'm a neat freak. I can relate to bucky's mother.

Then, most of the time it's just the two of us and we have "inside" and "outside" shoes. Although, most of the time neither of us wears shoes when we're inside. Indoors, in the summer is bare feet. In the colder months, just socks.

At any rate, we're usually pretty quick at retrieving anything that makes it way to the floor before much time elapses. Seconds usually. Never minutes. I can't even begin to comprehend "minutes!" What? Are we waiting for the food to come back to the table/counter on its own?

Our general thoughts on the "food on the floor/ground" concept is that it all depends on what the food is (sticky, wet, dry, etc.), how it's handled after hitting the floor depends on its characteristic. Same for the surface it lands on.

As someone already mentioned, different rules apply when dropping food while camping or at the beach. Except, as bucky pointed out, the condition of the surface on which the food is dropped definitely allows for some latitude in one's decision as to whether to eat or not eat.

In many aspects of our daily lives, I often am amazed at how hinky folks get because something is deemed unsafe/unhealthy, etc. Well, guess what? Somehow I don't think the Pilgrims or pioneers were as sterile as we are today. Yes, I know, their life expectancy was lower than ours is today, but I still think we need to put things into a less clinical perspective when it comes to such things as the "5-second rule" or whatever it may be called.

Plus, I remember very vividly listening to my father (a physician) comment when I was young that he felt humankind was being sanitized beyond necessity. "How can our immune systems be maintained if everything is cleaned to death," he would say.

Oops, sorry. I'll get off my soapbox now. I dropped my toast anyway. Gotta blow on it real good so I can finish my breakfast. Cool, too. It landed butter-side up.
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:11 AM   #8
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I cannot stay that I believe it, but I certainly do fallow it. Dirt gets on food the moment the food hits the floor, 5 second or more. I mostly go by what it is that fell on the floor and what floor or where. I remember we were visiting my friends for a dinner one evening. Our daughters were about 2 or so. They are very close in age. And somebody dropped some food on the floor. By the time one of the husbands, that's me or the other guy, got up to go get a broom, girls ate everything. We were just laughing about, what terrible parents we are. Girls were perfectly fine and happy. Cannot say that their floor was the example of cleanliness either.
You are what you eat.
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:12 AM   #9
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LMAO at BT and the neurosurgery comment. I have friends like that.

OK, at the risk of grossing out many of you clean freaks out there, I routinely abide by the 5 second rule. Although in our house, you'd better make it more like 5 NANOseconds or the dog will eat it first. We usually only move THAT fast if its chocolate or something else that might make Murray sick. Having said that, did I mention I live with a dog? A very, very VERY hairy dog? It doesn't matter how often I vacuum, sweep, roomba and wash my floors, the dog is a giant walking dust bunny. I have probably ingested more hair than any person should admit to. If I see the hair on my food, I pick it off, but really, it aint gonna kill me. I figure if I can tolerate that, there isn't much on my floor that is worse.

I don't do the 5 second rule anywhere but home though.
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:16 AM   #10
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I'm not very worried about germs and such. But that doesn't mean I'll eat whatever is dropped. It depends what it is and where it lands.
I dropped a whole beer can chicken before. It was fully cooked and I was elbowing the storm door with one elbow and it slid right off that stupid, little, Steve Raichlen BCC rack. I fully blame him I could have peeled the skin off, but I threw it out. More out of frustration than anything. Along with the rack! Probably in under five seconds, too!

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