'Three-second rule' is a myth, says new research
Published 29/03/2016 | 14:42
Many of us are familiar with the "ten-second rule" (also known as the five or three-second rule) - accidentally dropping food on the floor, quickly swiping it up and deeming it still safe to eat.
But new research has revealed that this practice isn't as hygienic as we'd like to believe.
Researchers suggest that up to a third of us risk our health by eating dirty food as bacteria sticks to food almost instantaneously, meaning many of us could be ingesting household bugs such as E. coli and Salmonella.
The research, from cleaning technology firm Kärcher, found that 37 per cent of us would eat food that had been dropped on the kitchen floor, while 38 per cent said they would eat food off their living room floor.
The research also found that 49 per cent of us only use a broom to clean and 43 per cent rely solely on an air freshener, though neither method is effective at killing bacteria.
A further 59 per cent said they wait till they see visible signs of dirt before they clean, while 27 per cent admitted to waiting for a bad smell before they decide to take action.
Hygienist Dr Lisa Ackerley, said the "silent killers" in our homes can multiply from a single bacterium to several million after seven hours. Speaking to the Daily Mail, she said: "Regular small bursts of hygienic cleaning is more important than one big spring clean.
"Bacteria and viruses can’t be seen or smelt and are easily destroyed through high temperatures, meaning steam cleaning is perfect."
The ten-second rule - also known as the five-second or three-second rule by some - has previously been dismissed by the NHS. Dr Ronald Cutler, a microbiologist from Queen Mary University, said: "The five-second rule has little effect on the amount of bacteria you would pick up from a heavily contaminated surface.
"Think about this, if you drop food on a floor, it's better to put it in the bin rather than your mouth.
"No matter if it’s at home on the carpet, the kitchen floor or in the street, my advice is if you drop it, chuck it."