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‘Five seconds rule’: Fact or Myth

Bacteria can contaminate your food doesn’t matter how quickly you pick it up, says a study

Policy Pulse
Publish Date: Sep 12 2016 12:29PM | Updated Date: Sep 12 2016 12:29PM

‘Five seconds rule’: Fact or Myth

Many of us would have felt happy when scientists discovered five seconds rule according to which, your favorite food is safe to eat if you pick it up within five seconds. But now they have conducted a study according to which, the rule is nothing but a myth. 


According to a study conducted by Rutgers University at New Jersey, in the US, moisture, type of surface and contact time all contribute to cross-contamination. In some instances, the transfer begins in less than one second. 


To conduct the study, four surfaces including stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood and carpet on which they dropped four kinds of food to test the contamination. The foods included watermelon, bread, bread and butter, and gummy candy. 


For accurate test results, surfaces were inoculated with bacteria and allowed to completely dry before food samples were dropped and left to remain for specified periods.


In the test, watermelon had the most contamination, gummy candy the least. This is because bacteria move with the help of moisture and watermelon contained good amount of moisture.