Whoever came up with the term the 'five second rule' for dropped food, probably didn't know about the germs thriving on the floor. In many restaurants, households and other eateries, the five second rule is followed, especially when one drops the last bite or if the meal tastes 'out of the world' and when you don't want to waste it.
According to experts, the five second rule is just a myth and should not be followed. When you drop food on the floor, whether its a tiled, carpeted or wooden flooring, the morsel immediately grabs on to the bacteria that is present on the floor.
Studies have shown that the bacteria transfers almost immediately onto the dropped food lying on the floor. And with the quantity of bacteria on the floor, it's definitely not worth the risk for your health. The study also shows that when food is dropped on the floor, it picks up a type of salmonella bacteria which is toxic for the digestive system.
If the large and small intestines get infected with this salmonella bacteria, you will end up with either food poisoning or diarrhea. When a recent study was done on dropped food, researchers found that the amount of bacteria transferred to either kind of food didn't depend much on how long the food was in contact with the contaminated surface - whether it was for a few seconds or for a whole minute.
The overall amount of bacteria on the surface mattered more. On the other hand, the five second rule or myth also depends upon the type of area or surface the dropped food is on. If you pick food from a mat, you are consuming more amount of bacteria as mats are made entirely out of fibre.
Yes, fibre attracts a lot of dust and germs. But, in comparison, tiles and wooden floors are also dangerous as 48%-70% of the micro-organisms get transferred to the food.
So at the end of the day: should you or should you not follow the five second rule? It is a blunt 'NO'!