Kids hear the “rule” all the time: You drop a piece of food on the ground, and you have five seconds to pick it up and eat it. If you get it in that amount of time, it’s still okay to eat. It’s called the 5 Second Rule, but is there any legitimacy to it? Is it scientifically proven to be true?
Many people think of this concept as a joke — an excuse people make when we really, really want to eat something, but it’s accidentally hit the ground. If we say, “5-Second Rule” and quickly snatch it back up, we justify in our heads that the food item is still fine to eat.
Assuming, of course, there’s nothing gross clinging to that item.
If you have never gotten sick from doing it, it’s easy to take a leap of faith. While it might not be totally healthy, it’s not deadly. Or is it?
Enter Eureka! Lab and Bethany Brookshire, Ph.D., who take on the question in the video below. They took the “Is 5 Second Rule Real” theory to task, hoping to see if it could be scientifically proven true or false.
Producers brought in NASA engineer Mark Rober, who offers cookies to passersby. But, in order for them to get the cookie, he first drops it to the ground (in a park, no less) and then asks them to take a bite. Some turn down the snack, while others grab it. But is that action bravery, a safety risk, or just plain stupidity?
They test whether food dropped on the floor for a short amount of time collects fewer bacteria than food on the ground for a longer time. Not only that, they show you how to set up the experiment at home if you want to confirm the results — including making your own incubator.
Without ruining anything, the results are pretty surprising. Check out the video below to see for yourself.