Five-Second Rule

Topics: Food safety, Genghis Khan, Foodborne illness Pages: 2 (847 words) Published: November 8, 2011
The Five-Second Rule, It’s Nothing to Drool About

All heads turn when someone calls out, five-second rule! Just what is it they’re saying? That maybe by chant or charm they claim the ability to ward off the sickness of any bacteria that may have contaminated their dropped food? Presumption rests on an incantation that may not have even originated in the United States. Folklore has it that the five-second rule may have been an invention of a thirteenth century Mongolian ruler Genghis Khan, who supposedly allowed it to be a “12 to 20-hour rule.” In countries like Russia it’s asserted as, "Promptly picked up is not considered fallen". But throughout the rest of the countries the rule is not well known. No matter where the rule comes from, or how it’s expressed, can we really consider dropped pieces of food, at whatever amount of time left on the floor, safe? Genuine research has been given to this topic and has been reported as “absolutely” by some, to, “it depends” by others. The commonly practiced rule also caught the attention of the Discovery Channels’ series MythBusters claiming to have “busted” the myth of that five-second rule concluding that there was no significant exposure of bacteria after the five seconds were up, only that it did matter where you had dropped the food would determine the number of types of bacteria would attach itself to it. A research team headed by Paul Dawson from Clemson University in South Carolina performed a number of experiments that tested levels of bacteria on various surfaces such as outdoor soil, the sidewalk, kitchen counters and kitchen floors, using the five-second rule. When so many other researchers have reported that surfaces such as carpets were in fact a good candidate for harboring bacteria and can attach themselves onto food and dry surfaces such as kitchen tiles or sidewalks could not; Dawson’s team proved that Salmonella Typhimurium and other bacteria can live as long as twenty-eight days on dry surfaces...
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