How many times have you witnessed someone dropping a piece of food on the floor and quickly picking it up, saying, “It’s still edible because of the 5-second rule!”
The reality is that this rule should be ruled out. While it’s true that a just-mopped kitchen floor is cleaner than, say, the carpet in a living room, there’s also the fact that the mop itself is probably not squeaky clean and is harboring bacteria. And bacteria on the floor can attach to foods faster than Speedy Gonzalez. Foods with wet surfaces, like an orange segment, really pick up bacteria super fast.
As devastating as it may seem to drop the very last piece of pizza on the floor when you’re incredibly hungry and craving a slice of pie, you’re better off tossing the pizza rather than “brushing it off with your fingers or a paper towel.”
If you need another reason as to why you shouldn’t use the 5-second rule as an excuse to eat food that has just fallen on the floor, you should think about the area where the food has fallen. How much traffic does this area get? How many pairs of shoes have walked the path? Has a pet parked itself on the floor? When was the last time the floor was cleaned? These questions should be enough to encourage you to toss the food. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Getting sick from bacteria is not worth eating foods that have slipped through your fingers.