The 5-Second Rule Is Debunked in Graphic, Disgusting Detail (VIDEO)

Health Check 9

5-second ruleThere you are eating that delicious cookie that you've been waiting for all day. It's the last one, and you've earned it. Then just as you're about to bite into its ooey gooey goodness, you drop it on to the floor. What do you do?

If you're like me, you shout (either internally or out loud if you're feeling particularly defensive) "5-Second Rule!" and eat it anyway. I've heard before about all of the germs, and blah, blah, blah, but I typically choose the cookie anyway. A new video from Michael Stevens of Vsauce circulating on the web, however, is making that harder than ever for me to do. It's just so ... graphic.

It's clearly a hot topic as more than 1.4 million people have viewed the video in the few days since he uploaded it. It's not that he's found anything new, but rather he's just taken a lot of scientific data and put it together into one pretty unappetizing argument.

He presents some interesting data, like the fact that 50 percent of men use the 5-second rule, while 70 percent of women do. (What does that say about us, ladies?) And perhaps the fact that I will have trouble ignoring the most the next time I drop something -- that 93 percent of shoes have fecal material on them. That means basically, that there's probably traces of poop all over the floor on which my cookie lands. Gag.

But what if we're REALLY quick? I mean it's a cookie, and I can be pretty quick if we're talking dark chocolate. Maybe just 1 second or so and it's okay? No such luck. He says contamination happens instantly. He says that in five seconds about 150-8,000 bacteria bond to dropped food, wet or dry. Oh, and bonus, it only takes 10 seconds for some strains of salmonella to infect you. 

His big conclusion: Don't touch food that's touched the floor ever. And honestly I'm not sure I'll ever be able to do so again.

Here's the video if you want to hear it straight from the source and make it even more vivid in your mind. After about three minutes in, he gets all scientific about touch and the charge of protons and electrons, and you feel like you're back in science class. If you watch the whole thing you'll be smarter for it though. Before you do, however, remember, ignorance is often bliss.

Do you embrace the 5-second rule? Will knowing the science behind food dropped on the floor change your habit?


Image via YouTube

function (obj) { return this.indexof(obj) >= 0; }, food, food safety


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Flowe... FlowerMama100

8000 bacteria is nothing.  Think of all the bacteria on your skin- your hands, face, etc.  You have about 10 bacterial cells in or on your body for every one human cell.  And what do you think about babies?  They crawl all over the floor, grab whatever they can, and stuff it in their mouths.  This really isn't that disturbing to me.  It helps to have an appreciation of the fact that very few things in this world are sterile.


Jespren Jespren

This is just an example of humans not being very rational. Kids are on the floor, we touch kids, kids eat food, we eat food, occassionally we even pick food up off the floor and eat it. We aren't dead or excessively sick (see, because we're all good enough to read and post here) so we're generally happy with our level of cleanliness. Now we see a video that tells us something that has always been true, and suddenly it bothers us? Guess what, the only thing that has changed was your relative knowledge, absolutely nothing else. If you were generally healthy and content with your level of cleanliness there is no reason for this to be more than a '*shrug* that's interesting'.

MomOf... MomOf2AndAZoo

I don't eat things that have been dropped on the floor because I don't want my kids to think it's ok to do it. If they dropped food on the floor, they wouldn't think to look and see if it has trash on it. They would just pop it in their mouth. Yuck. And I have always taught them not to put things in their mouth that isn't food. I'm not paranoid about germs, but I wanted to reduce the amount that my kids were exposed to as much as possible. Not to mention kids putting everything in their mouth is just disgusting.

amazz... amazzonia

that's why kids are full of allergies and always sicke, they don't get enough bactiria to build up an immune system thanks to all the paranoid parents that don't allow them to eat anything from the floor, that sterilize everything...nothing wrong is going to happen!

Andrea Wells

I'll take ignorance. I like bliss.

Momto... MomtoDavid

no one is allowed to wear shows in my house. only on rare occasions when we come from the back door to the front for some reason. When my son was a baby a friend wore his shoes in my house and it brought in a piece glass which i found in my sons mouth. since then I've been really strict about it That said, my 22 month old thinks things taste better off the floor lol.


Ginny Flom Villers

I wouldn't eat food off of a public floor, but if something drops in my house, I'm not going to worry too much about it.

nonmember avatar Ayeshah

I can see where the 5-second rule should not apply. I don't let my daughter eat anything off the floor if I am unaware of what may be lurking on it. However in my home...outside shoes are not allowed in and we have different pair of shoes to wear when you have to use the bathroom. This way I minimize the poop traveling through out my house. All guests are also asked to take thier shoes off before entering my home.

Felip... FelipesMom

Wow, I am SO happy to see intelligent people commenting here! I couldn't agree more with the first two responses - and Jespren especially lays it out in such an intelligent manner. Thanks!!

It is true that kids these days have more allergies and other problems because they didn't eat enough dirt as kids - that's how the body learns what is healthy and what isn't, and how to protect itself.

Also, I noticed the author immediately jumped from "there IS fecal matter on most shoes" to "there MUST BE fecal matter all over the floor." Quite an assumption! I see the reason for thinking that, but how about checking it before assuming it's fact?

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