Can you really trust the 'five second rule'? -

Can you trust the 'five second rule'?

OK admit it – we've all done it - dropped that cookie or potato chip on the floor, picked it up within five seconds and taken a bite! But does the so-called five-second rule really prevent us from taking in germs?

Turns out, when it comes to the five-second rule, there really is no rule.

Dr. Susan Rehm of the Cleveland Clinic says, "When you drop something on the floor bacteria, viruses, the other living things that are all around us, get on this object or food almost immediately."

So those five seconds, while oddly comforting, provide a false sense of security that fallen food is germ-free. A recent study tested dropped food for salmonella that was present on various floor surfaces. Researchers found that the bacteria was transferred immediately from all of the materials.

Conclusion – no matter how quickly you pick up that toothsome treat, dangerous microbes have already found a new home. And for those looking to salvage that savory morsel, Dr. Rehm says rinsing off food doesn't necessarily make it bacteria-free.

"Washing the food as much as one can is a good idea. But it doesn't sterilize it. Remember that surfaces are very different. So an apple for example, a very smooth surface, very easy to clean is much different from a raspberry. Lots of little surfaces, there's even little hairs on the raspberry they really cling to bacteria," says Dr. Rehm.

The only way to eliminate these germs would be to sterilize the food.

Copyright 2011 America Now.  All rights reserved.

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