5 Second Rule: Is It Ever OK To Eat Food Off the Floor?

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FOOD ON THE FLOOR
Does the five second rule exist? | Shutterstock

We've just lost our last excuse to eat off the floor.

As reported by The Atlantic, YouTube science video series Vsauce and host Michael Stevens, has decided to answer the question nobody ever wanted to hear: Does the "five-second rule" actually exist?

In simple terms, it doesn't. So it's probably not a good idea to eat that fallen nacho chip or slice of pizza that touched your kitchen floor. According to the video, which now has over 4 million views on YouTube, "five seconds is way too long to wait. Bacteria adhere to dropped food almost immediately," Stevens says.

Stevens, who references an earlier episode of MythBusters with similar findings and a report by the Journal of Applied Microbiology, found that food that touches the floor for five minutes can collect anywhere from 150 to 8000 types of bacteria. To make things worse, food that was left on the floor for a minute can rack up to 10 times more bacteria.

But that hardwood floor in your living room looks spotless, right? This could be a common reason why 70 per cent of women and 50 per cent of men use the "five-second rule" as an excuse, Stevens adds. Studies have found that even though surfaces look clean, they are filled with bacteria we can't see. One study from the University of Arizona found that about 90 per cent of shoes have fecal matter on them — think about that when you let people wear their footwear in your house.

Other studies suggest that the type of food also matters. One research team left cooked pasta, ham, a biscuit, bread with jam and dried fruit on the floor, and found that foods with a higher salt or sugar contents were less likely to be infected with harmful bacteria after touching the floor.

Meanwhile, washing your food to fight the 'five-second rule' may not be the best option either. As reported by the Yummy Mummy Club, Jorge Parada, medical director of the infection prevention and control program at Loyola University Health System, says even if you wash your hot dog after it touches the floor, you'll still have unwanted bacteria on it.

Do you ever follow the "five-second rule?" Do you still plan to now? Let us know in the comments below:

WATCH: The full video with Vsauce

LOOK: Some of the most germ-filled hotspots in your office:

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