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The Washington Post this morning reports that a new study published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology says that the mythical five-second rule - "if you drop food to the ground, you have a five-second window to pick it up and the snack will remain clean enough to eat" - is, in fact, a myth.

"Like most ideas concocted in cafeterias where the French toast sticks are haute cuisine, this rule does not hold up under intelligent, or basically any, scrutiny," the story says, adding, "The five-second rule is the fulcrum on which we balance our aversion to spoiled grub with our desire to scarf down the tasty stuff, microbes be damned. (This is the point where we should mention there are 31 known pathogens responsible for an estimated 9 million cases of food-borne illness a year, according to the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention.)"

Donald Schaffner, a Rutgers University biologist and an author of the research, argues it this way: "“The five-second rule is a significant oversimplification of what actually happens when bacteria transfer from a surface to food ... Bacteria can contaminate instantaneously.”
KC's View:

(I thought it was a 15-second rule...)