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Do you follow the five-second rule?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on July 10, 2007

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Photo of Natale Collar

“I guess it depends on what it is. If it’s something gooey, I’ll leave it. If it’s something good and I’m hungry, then I’ll pick it up.”

Photo of Andrew Brown

“No. I’ll just throw it away if it touches the ground.”

Photo of Alex Reith

“If it hits the floor at work, it’s kind of an ethical thing, and I don’t use it. At home, my dog is our five-second rule enforcer.”

Photo of Nichole Farris

“Yes, but I try to wash it off usually unless it’s an exceptionally clean surface.”


H_Lecter 10 years, 11 months ago

You mean give it a five second head start before chasing and killing it?


acg 10 years, 11 months ago

Absolutely. But it's the 3 second rule, not the 5 second rule. 5 seconds is entirely too long, but 3 seconds is acceptable.

sunflower_sue 10 years, 11 months ago

Depends on where it has fallen. The hubby, if it's something he really likes, will eat it no matter...just for shock value. (Well, even he has his limits.)

I was sitting at a light yesterday and a taxi driver behind me was thouroghly enjoying eating his buggers! Seriously? Do some adults actually do that? I wonder what he thinks of the five second rule? Eeeewwwww...

Linda Endicott 10 years, 11 months ago

TOB, it's all about the stuff on the news yesterday...the old rule used to be that if you dropped food on the floor, it was okay to still eat it if you picked it up again within five seconds.

Scientists have apparently now discovered that it's safe to eat it after even longer than five seconds.

It depends on what it is and where I dropped it...

Although I have seen children drop half melted chocolate bars onto the grass, and eat it anyway, with no ill effects.

ms_canada 10 years, 11 months ago

I guess it all depends, did it fall on a floor that I had just washed, was it a dry piece of food like popcorn. But generally, I don't like to eat fallen food. A NOTE TO SUE - if you are talking to the inlaws, tell them to check out Spruce Meadows on the southern edge of Calgary. It is a show horse jumping center. Horses from all over the world come to compete. It is a marvelous place with more than just show jumping. Several eating places, entertainment, shops. We just love it there and admission is only $5 each. The event during stampede week (roh-dee-o) is usually great. Check their website. Google Spruce Meadows, Calgary.

sgtwolverine 10 years, 11 months ago

Not really. To reduce the stress in my life, I created my own five-minute rule. That way I don't have to rush to pick it up off the floor. And the ants aren't too quick about finding food on the floor, so it works.

Victoria 10 years, 11 months ago

You mean there's a rule on how long food can be on the floor before you can eat it?????? Wish someone would have told me before now!

Linda Endicott 10 years, 11 months ago

I didn't know until yesterday...

The things they don't tell you...

Grundoon Luna 10 years, 11 months ago

It depends: How dirty is the surface it fell on and can the item be washed if it was dropped on a less that sterile surface. Most times I just leave it for the dog, though.

I always though it was the 3 second rule, too, but I will take the extra two seconds.

Kat Christian 10 years, 11 months ago

Yes, yes, yes - as my Mama use to say - ya gotta eat a little dirt before you die.

Kevin Sontag 10 years, 11 months ago

Here's the real question- whats the deal with chicks wearing enormous sunglasses? When the hell did looking like Harry Carey become fashionable? Oy.

Linda Aikins 10 years, 11 months ago

Yes. Only like others, it is a 3-second rule. And yes it depends on WHAT it is and WHERE it is. Even I have standards sometimes.

Sgt, how was your trip to Lawrence?

coolmarv 10 years, 11 months ago

I want to be an 'ice cream artist'. Where do I sign up?

I make my 11 years old son pick it up and eat it at if we are at home. I swear half his dinner ends up on the floor. Those of you with dogs should have a 'no second' rule. As soon as it hits the floor let the dog just have it. I'm not eating off the floor my dog lies on.

adriennerm 10 years, 11 months ago

Depends on what it it's an apple I have already started it eat and it falls to my floor, then i'll wash it off and continue eating. However if it falls on the grass....heck no.

Remember when I went to Culvers and my fries fell out the bag onto my front porch. I had to decide for 5 minutes if I wanted to eat them or not...that was a sad day.

sgtwolverine 10 years, 11 months ago

tagger, the gigantic sunglasses remind me of the gigantic face-covering eyeglasses from the 80s. I think some people are failing to learn from past mistakes.

Gootsie, it was fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And now I can picture Massachusetts Street.

Oh, and I also made a brief visit to Strong Hall to see just how highly KU thinks of me. On the way to Lawrence, I stopped in Strong City, too, but that was a bit less imposing. I think Strong Hall has a larger population than Strong City.

Staci Dark Simpson 10 years, 11 months ago

tagger-my husband says if I ever buy a pair of those sunglasses he'll disown me. When I was at WalMart last week I put a pair on and followed him around and kept say THats Hot!
As for 5 sec rule my dog is much faster. Unless it is chocolate which I will dive for. Things I have discovered: my dog hates flaming hot cheetos, cat hair doesn't come off cheese, and a 4 yr old will eat darn near anything off the floor.

Linda Aikins 10 years, 11 months ago

How did you get to Strong City? And why? Did you see the Flint Hills - pretty stuff! I'm certain there are more folks in Strong Hall too. I've been to both.

Next time we must all hang out together at some coffee shop or bar or something. We can pick food up off the floor together!

Kevin Sontag 10 years, 11 months ago

I mean seriously, girls, you look like Martin Landeau with those sunglasses. Give it a rest!

sgtwolverine 10 years, 11 months ago

I was driving to Lawrence from Wichita, and I looked on the map and saw Strong City; since it wasn't horrendously out of the way, I made the detour. It's not often I get to visit towns that share my name.

If I make it down to Kansas again, we'll make that happen. And if anyone makes it to Michigan, be sure to visit the Ann Arbor area.

Kat Christian 10 years, 11 months ago

some high school kids did a study that if you drop dry food on the ground it takes up to 60 minutes before bacteria will begin to grow on it. However, if it is moist food it takes only 30 seconds for bacteria to begin to grow. So your Mother was right about the 5 second rule - it is safe to eat within that window of opporunity. Like I said ya gotta eat a little dirt before you die. In you live in a total sterial environment you'll catch every bug and disease known to man - you need the dirt to built your immune system. Those ole wives tales are there for a reason - trust them.

mom_of_three 10 years, 11 months ago

LOL prospector!

In my house, the dog may catch it in mid air, depending on how close he is watching.....

14all41 10 years, 11 months ago

There's actually a MythBusters episode about this. Don't any of you watch Jamie & Adam on the Discovery Channel?

jonas 10 years, 11 months ago

Speaking of Jamie from Mythbusters, I found this the other day and laughed my @#$ off. It really looks just like him.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 11 months ago

I would think it would only take so long for bacteria and germs to begin to grow, whether it's on the floor or on your plate. After all, germs don't know or care where it is.

Now that I've destroyed your appetites, go eat dinner...

purplesage 10 years, 11 months ago

I wouldn't pick up any coon or possum that was run over more than 5 seconds ago by the car in front of me.

geekin_topekan 10 years, 11 months ago

I saw this on Myth Busters once.The five second rule can actually be extended to the 12 second rule with no extra values.

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