So I read the most interesting blog from the Digestive Detective  (side note, how cool is that business!). So it talks about this research which has been done around bacteria on the floor and the 5 second rule.

What confuses me all the time is how the amount of seconds varies ALL THE TIME! Someone says 2 seconds, another says 5 seconds, 10 seconds and “still good”. So what is the actual rule and how long is too long? And why is it actually important?

I know a little boy who got REALLY sick because he put his hands in his mouth after crawling around in the laundry where his dad takes off his boots after feeding the calf. Cow dung carries HEAPS of bacteria and even if there’s no visible trace of bacteria on the floor, it can still be there. Slightly off topic from the food thing but it’s relevant if you are picking things up from the floor and putting them in your mouth!

So, according to research, the rule of thumb for how long the rule should be is going to vary dependent on three things:

  1. The moisture of the food
  2. What type of surface it landed on
  3. How long the food is on the germy surface

So let me break it down for you….

The more moisture, the faster the bacteria will infiltrate the food so this could be meats as an example or fruits like watermelon which are super juicy. However, dependent on the surface and the length of time its on that surface is going to play in to whether your moist food is more likely to be infected.

The surface is important, research found solid surfaces seem to transfer more bacteria as there’s more surface to food contact. There’s little transfer for carpet for instance but tiles are more likely to. A second and obvious piece to this is the cleanliness of the surface.

And lastly, the number one question, how long the food is on that surface for? I’m going to say, use your common sense! So worse case scenario, your floors need a good clean (especially if people walk inside with shoes on), the surface is solid like tiles and your food is moist, then apply the 0 second rule!

So where to from here? Well, just be ready to make a 5 second decision, am I, or am I not, going to put that food on the floor in my mouth! Happy decision making people!

2 replies
  1. Liz
    Liz says:

    We have a 0 second rule, living with a chocolate Labrador, we don’t stand a chance.. we have had many a tear at our place over the years 🤣🤣🤣


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