My Kid Eats Food Off the Floor! Study, Schmudy.


Photo by Punkylu78

New study alert! Scientists at San Diego State University say forget everything you've heard about the "5-second rule." It's not okay to let your child eat a piece of food that falls on the floor (or various other places)—no matter how fast you pick it up.

The researchers studied a carrot and a sippy cup after they had been dropped in various places—counter tops, high-chair trays, tile floors, and carpet. They found that the object picked up a significant amount of germs. The most germs were transferred to the carrot from the counter; the most germs were transferred to the sippy cup from the highchair tray. Um, aren't kids supposed to eat off their high-chair trays?

If you care, the researchers say to remind your family that the 5-second rule isn't true and that they shouldn't be eating food that has touched a potentially dirty surface. To keep things clean, disinfect the surfaces in your home with a bleach solution, and sanitize toys and sippy cups with a bleach solution.

The study was funded by The Clorox Company.

Thank you very much, but I'd rather my kid ingest germs than bleach. I also subscribe to the theory that a little dirt is good for kids.

How about you? Are you a clean freak or will you be a "bad mom" like me and give your kids food that falls on the floor?

Related posts:

Play in the Dirt, Baby!

food, health


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justa... justanotherjen

And I'm sure I can rustle up another study that says exposing your kids to germs is a good thing because it builds their immune system. 

I actually gave my youngest a snack once (a bowl of dry cheerios and she was about 9 months old) and she promptly dumped the whole bowl onto the carpeting because it was easier to eat that way.  Did I freak out and yell and take it all away?  Nope, I got the camera out, took some pictures and blogged about having breakfast with Nora, lol.  I personally wouldn't eat food off the floor but it doesn't bother them so whatever.  It hasn't killed them yet.  They have very strong immune systems and hardly ever get sick.

auror... aurorabunny

Thank you very much, but I'd rather my kid ingest germs than bleach. I also subscribe to the theory that a little dirt is good for kids.


We clean with vinegar and it does the job just as well!

DreaK... DreaKevAiyana

I'm a 'clean freak', but my little girl eats off our floors, and I sure as heck don't clean with bleach!!  Ewww, that'll kill her quicker than some germs that her strong immune system can kill off.  Like my very wise holistic chiropractor says "Let her eat dirt!!" (he didn't mean that literally, but she must have thought he did because she's done that a few times too!!).  Our house is extremely clean thanks to good ol' fashioned vinegar.

Cynthje Cynthje

There is a lot of information out there to support exposing kids to germs, all the chemicals do more harm anyway. I'm not a neat freak at all, my kids will drop something and continue eating it, they play in the dirt outside, play with the dogs etc..both are very healthy and stong kids.

nmmama09 nmmama09

The only time I won't let my kids eat something they dropped is if we aren't at home. I'm so tired of these "studies!"

momof... momoflilangel

We sanitize with vinegar. I don't let my child eat food off the floor b/c that is where everyone walks. We teach her to throw it away but she is 3 now so she doesn't usually drop a whole lot of food anymore.

RGladson RGladson

Bleh...whatever. Sounds like Clorox is just trying to make more money.

I usually don't let my kids eat food off of the floor, but if it happens _ it's not the end of the freakin' world...

scien... science_spot

Your kids won't be ingesting bleach if you follow the instructions on the clorox container.  Bleach breaks down to non-toxic components - more info here:

But, for the record, they didn't prove any ill effects from eating the germy foods that were dropped.  All they proved is that germs transferred to the food.  Considering we already knew that, I don't think Clorox got their money's worth ;)


Kbaby... KbabysMaMa

Actually, that's only HALF true. I saw the same experiment on Myth Busters. Any kind of WET food will pick up the germs immediately. But completely DRY food is a different story. Dry food picks up almost no germs at all (almost) no matter how long it is on the floor. Either way, if we're in my own house, the germs don't scare me. I let my daughter eat off her tray if she drops her food on it. If we're somewhere else, then no! I don't want her picking up flu germs or E coli or something of that sort.

Felip... FelipesMom

OP - I totally agree that dirt is a better snack than bleach! Here is what I think of the study and the article:

The most telling part of this was at the end: "The study was funded by The Clorox Company."

I also disagree with the conclusion they are drawing - the study finds that food picks up more germs from a high chair tray than from a tile floor or carpet, and the conclusion is don't eat of the floor??? Um... that's now what I got out of it! To me, this study means we should be keeping our high chair trays cleaner!

Furthermore, they didn't actually study whether or not those germs are hurting you in any way. There was no comparison! Just "food that hits the floor pick up germs." Well, duh. I don't think that was ever up for debate! There are germs all over and only people with debilitating OCD ever actually try to be completely germ-free (which is impossible).

What about articles like this, that cite numerous studies (not funded by a company trying to sell a product!!) that concluded that eating dirt is actually good for children, and teaches the immune system how to work?

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