Whether you truly believe in the 5-second rule or use it as an excuse to save your floor-bound food, it is sure to have played a role in your life. So where did this rule come from? And is it a rule we should follow or drop?
The 5-second rule has been around for ages! It dates back to the 13th century Mongolian ruler Genghis Khan, who according to legend told his generals at banquets that they could leave food on the floor for later. His logic was that if the food were good enough to be prepared for him, it wouldn’t be a problem to eat – no matter how long it had been on the ground.
Science has taught us otherwise.
Researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom recently examined cooked pasta, ham, a biscuit, bread with jam and dried fruit that had been dropped on the floor for various lengths of time. The products were chosen because they’re common items and contain water, which support the growth of bacteria.
According to the study results, foods with higher salt or sugar content – the ham and sugary bread and jam – didn’t have many bacteria. But the dried fruit and cooked pasta showed signs of bacteria within three seconds. Bacteria on your food can cause illness and dental health problems.
More than 76 million Americans contract illnesses related to bad or spoiled food annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s estimated that of those cases, 300,000 people are hospitalized, and 5,000 die.
Bacteria in your mouth can lead to cavities and gum disease. And you can pass bacteria from one person to another by sharing cups, toothbrushes, or utensils.
We suggest adopting a no-second rule to replace the 5-second rule. If it drops, toss!