FAQs on Dropped Food

Does the 5-second rule really safeguard my food from germs and bacteria? Should I eat food that has been dropped on the floor?

If I Drop It, Can I Still Eat It?

Dropped Ice CreamWe thought we knew the answer.  Dropped food would not collect fresh germs if picked up within 5 seconds (or 30 seconds or a minute, depending upon whose expertise you believed).  The rationale behind these rules was that it took a certain period of time for the germs from the floor or ground to multiply on that delicious Lady Godiva chocolate that you dropped and still crave.  Now, new research tells us that those pesky pathogens move faster than we previously gave them credit for. To beat them, we’d have to pick it up in no seconds.

Is it true that, if I pick up dropped food within 5 seconds, it doesn’t have time to pick up germs?

The truth is even more generous than that.  According to registered dietician Elisa Zied, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, recent research has shown that food can stay bacteria-free for up to 30 seconds.  However, she admits that she would consider where  the food landed.  If it fell on the floor at home or in a restaurant, she’d be more likely to let her children eat it than if it fell on the ground outside.  Why?   One must consider what she calls the

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