Skip to content


Study: Germs Trump ‘Five Second Rule’

Most people are familiar with the famed “five second rule,” which states that if dropped food is picked up off the floor within five seconds of contact, it is still safe to consume.

Though a popular belief, a new study has found that germs often win the race.

The study, co-funded by Clorox and conducted by researchers at San Diego State University, found that germs do in fact attach themselves to edible items within that amount of time, the McClatchy-Tribune News Service is reporting.

Baby carrots were reportedly deposited on different surfaces, including a countertop, a kitchen sink, a table, and both a carpeted and tiled floor in the interest of testing the theory.

An additional carrot was kept clean, to serve as a constant.

Researchers found that germs affixed themselves to the carrots within five seconds of contact with different surfaces.

The countertop was found to be the dirtiest surface, with the carpeted and tiled floors following closely in second and third place.

According to a survey conducted in tandem with the study by researchers at SDSU, a reported 65 percent of parents admitted to implementing the five second rule in their homes, the News Service learned.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta also warns against the dangers inherent in germs contaminating foods.

On their official website, they recommend thorough and frequent cleanings of both surfaces and hands. Germs can also allegedly live in utensils and cutting boards, according to the CDC.

Courtesy CBS

Okay, since we all work in or around hospitals…. answer this question.  Do you practice the ‘5 second rule’ at home? Or if you drop that steak on the floor – do you wash it off and throw it on the grill?