Is the five second rule dangerous for your health?

Some people just want to watch the world burn

national noad

Waste not want not is a motto a lot of students stand by. You drop food on the floor and naturally pick it up within five seconds, especially when it comes to luxuries.

But now killjoy food experts at the Daily Mail claim the five second rule is a “hazardous myth”.

The fear mongering rag say the habit does more harm to your health than it does saving you money.

But The Tab’s own foodie expert and man of the people Professor Anthony Hilton is here to defend your shameful manners, saying: “It’s all about using your common sense.”

Which foods do you reckon are safe?

Which foods do you reckon are safe?

The article declares foods that most definitely shouldn’t be picked up and eaten, and foods that can be justified.

Rachelle Williams, a spokeswoman for the Food Safety Information Council, told the Daily Mail: “There’s no such things as a ‘five-second rule’. We definitely do not recommend it.”

Despite the allegation that you should absolutely not be picking food off the floor and eating it – the Daily Mail said drier foods were safer.

Williams said: “Bacteria relies on moisture to grow, so any food wet food is considering potentially hazardous.

“With dry foods, it is conversely much tougher for bacteria to grow.”


The ‘DM’ Danger Zones go like this:

Very Hazardous  where Salmonella and E.coli can be a genuine consequence

If you drop wet foods such as cut fruit, cold meats, ham, salami, dairy products, and cooked rice or pasta, throw it straight away.

The Grey Area – where it is okay but frowned upon.

Dry foods such as potato chips, lollies, nuts, biscuits, crackers and uncooked rice or pasta you might be able to get away with, just don’t tell anyone.


Non-Hazardous – drop till your hearts content.

They said: “Uncut fruit is one group considered non-hazardous.”

Professor Anthony Hilton, a microbiologist from Aston University, conducted his own research that contradicts the findings presented by the Daily Mail. His project proves that the rule in fact rings true – foods are safer to eat when picked up in a short amount of time.

He said: “The longer you leave food (wet) more bacteria can get on the food.”

However, he explained that food safety is not a mere measure of time but also the area in which you drop it.

He said: “A lot of it is common sense. If you were to drop food outside or in a public toilet only an idiot would pick it up to eat.”

On the other hand, Hilton says that if he were to drop a piece of toast in his home he “wouldn’t think twice about picking it up.”