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Research Shows You Can’t Count On The 5-Second Rule

Telling your kid not to eat that goldfish/gummy bear/graham cracker off the floor is a daily battle for most parents, and occasionally they wear you down to a familiar compromise: “5-second rule!” Unfortunately, a new study out of Rutgers University has uncovered that this time-honored rule could be a load of crap, and no, that doesn’t mean you have more time to wait on eating that fallen pizza.

The 5-second rule’s flaws may come as somewhat of a show to you, considering the fact that you were raised on it and turned out fine. But researchers looked at what happened when watermelon, bread, bread and butter, and gummy candy — all likely staples of your kid’s diet — met stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood, and carpet surfaces for periods of one, 5, 30, and 300 seconds. They measured bacteria levels a whopping 2,560 times and found that cross-contamination can happen in less than a second, depending on how moist the food is. (And now your spouse has one more reason to hate that word.)

Your kid will be happy to know the gummy candies displayed the least amount of cross-contamination overall, although you still have more than enough other reasons to cut them off. Surprisingly, carpet surfaces transferred the least amount of bacteria, while stainless steel transferred the highest. So if your youngster insists, consider some more specific rules for eating off the floor based on these findings. Only crackers off of the carpet from now on, with a dash of cat hair.

[H/T] Inside Hook