Is The "Five-Second Rule" a Myth? Study Says...

According to ancient wisdom — and by ancient wisdom, I mean that of kids ages five to 14…or 30 — if you drop food on the floor, you have approximately five seconds to pick up said food before it becomes inedible. This “five-second rule” has been a hot topic of debate for ages, though there is very little scientific proof denoting its truth…until now.

That’s right, according to a recent study, the “five second rule” is, in fact, a real thing.

As reported by Gizmodo, the amount of time food has been on the floor makes a huge difference when it comes to contamination, according to research by Aston University in Birmingham, England. Thanks to microbiology professor Anthony Hilton and a team of curious students, we can now feel less guilty about doing a bend-and-snap to save our chocolate-covered pretzels.

According to HNGN, Hilton and his team tested foods including pasta, toast, cookies, and candy on several types of floors — laminate, tiled, and carpeted were among them. They studied how long it takes for bacteria like E. coli and Staphylococcus aurous to contaminate food within a period of three seconds to 30 seconds after meeting the floor. The team discovered that time is a huge factor when it comes to contamination — though this doesn't mean we should be spooning pasta off the floor. Hilton elaborates for HNGM:

"Consuming food dropped on the floor still carries an infection risk as it very much depends on which bacteria are present on the floor at the time," Hilton said according to a news release from the university. "However, the findings of this study will bring some light relief to those who have been employing the five-second rule for years, despite a general consensus that it is purely myth."

There is another factor to remember: the type of floor your food has been briefly chilling on. Hilton mentions eating off the carpet is the safest option. The team also noticed that moist food on tiled or laminated floors is the worst. So kitchen floor spaghetti might not be the best dinner option.

OK, so we’re not saying you should be eating your lunch off the floor on a regular basis (or on any sort of basis at all). It’s still the floor — as in, the place where the bottom of your shoes have been, and who knows what was in that puddle you stumbled through earlier. We’re just saying, if you dropped the last cookie on the floor and absolutely can't live without it...you have five seconds.