Friday 26 May 2017

'Five-second rule' counts as food on floor is safe to eat

'Obviously, food covered in visible dirt shouldn't be eaten, but as long as it's not obviously contaminated, the science shows that food is unlikely to have picked up harmful bacteria from a few seconds spent on an indoor floor. That is not to say that germs can't transfer from the floor to the food' Stock photo: Getty Images/Caiaimage
'Obviously, food covered in visible dirt shouldn't be eaten, but as long as it's not obviously contaminated, the science shows that food is unlikely to have picked up harmful bacteria from a few seconds spent on an indoor floor. That is not to say that germs can't transfer from the floor to the food' Stock photo: Getty Images/Caiaimage

Ryan Hooper

Food that has been dropped on the floor is usually safe to eat under the so-called "five-second rule", a scientist has said.

Germ expert Professor Anthony Hilton, from Aston University in Birmingham, the UK, said that although retrieving these morsels can never be completely without risk, there is little to be concerned about if the food is only there momentarily.

Prof Hilton said: "Eating food that has spent a few moments on the floor can never be entirely risk-free.

"Obviously, food covered in visible dirt shouldn't be eaten, but as long as it's not obviously contaminated, the science shows that food is unlikely to have picked up harmful bacteria from a few seconds spent on an indoor floor. That is not to say that germs can't transfer from the floor to the food.

"Our research has shown that the nature of the floor surface, the type of food dropped on the floor and the length of time it spends on the floor can all have an impact on the number that can transfer."

It comes as a survey of 2,000 people found 79pc admitted to eating food that had fallen on the floor.

Irish Independent

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