The Five Second Rule

Do you eat food that has fallen on the floor? Do you follow the five second rule? Scientists at Clemson University have extended the studies of Jillian Clarke, a high-school intern at the University of Illinois in 2003, on this topic. Their results are reported in the Journal of Applied Microbiology and summarized in a recent NY times article.

They conducted three experiments to determine the survival and transfer of Salmonella bacteria from wood, tile or carpet to bologna (sausage) and bread.

They found:
• Salmonella bacteria can survive for up to 4 weeks on dry surfaces in high-enough populations to be transferred to foods
• Salmonella bacteria can be transferred to the foods tested almost immediately on contact.

This study demonstrated the ability of bacteria to survive and cross-contaminate other foods even after long periods of time on dry surfaces, thus reinforcing the importance of sanitation on food contact to minimize the risk of foodborne illness.

So what do you do?

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Gene's picture
Gene says:

The Mythbusters explored this phenomenon in their own inimitable way in Season 3.

posted on Wed, 05/09/2007 - 4:09pm

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