Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hot Topic - The 5 Second Rule May Be True

E. Coli, Staph aureus - nasty germs and the cause of many food borne illnesses.  Senior biology students at Aston University School of Life and Health Sciences looked at the following foods:
  • dry toast, pasta, biscuit, and sticky sweet bun
And the following floors:
  • carpet, laminate, tile
Foods were allowed to come in contact with flooring for 3 to 30 seconds.  Carpet had the least transfer of bacteria and laminate and tile the most.  (Carpet fuzz is another story.) The sticky food picked up more bacteria than the dry food.  Time of exposure was significantly linked to bacterial transfer to food. So, the 5 second rule is not just an old wives' tale.

The students also surveyed people about their use of the 5 second rule - 87% said they have or would eat food dropped on the floor.  You are not alone.
In the interest of full disclosure, a study at Clemson University in 2007 found the transfer of Salmonella (another nasty germ) to bologna and bread was instantaneous. It could be the type of germ.  It could be the fat and protein content of the tested food.  It could be just how dirty that floor was to begin with - compare a city sidewalk to your mom's kitchen floor that was so clean you could eat off of it (we used to say).

So, what's the bottom line?  Wash your hands!  That is the best thing you can do to prevent food borne illness.

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