The five second rule: pros and cons.

Here we have a National Post arguing with the science that clearly states that five seconds is more than enough time for the bacteria to transfer from the ground to your food. 

National Post article and original research on youtube.

I went a step beyond this and asked myself:  how clean is our food before we drop it on the ground?  How clean are our mouths?  Turns out that even home cooked meals with good hygiene aren’t sufficient to avoid bacterial diarrhea, so go ahead and munch away.  The poor thing is filthy to begin with. 
BMC Public Health. 2008 Feb 22;8:71.

How effective is good domestic kitchen hygiene at reducing diarrhoeal disease in developed countries? A systematic review and reanalysis of the UK IID study.
Stenberg A, Macdonald C, Hunter PR.

School of Medicine, Health Policy and Practice, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK.


BACKGROUND: To assess whether domestic kitchen hygiene is an important contributor to the development of diarrhoea in the developed world. METHODS: Electronic searches were carried out in October 2006 in EMBASE, MEDLINE, Web of Knowledge, Cochrane central register of clinical trials and CINAHL. All publications, irrespective of study design, assessing food hygiene practices with an outcome measure of diarrhoea were included in the review. All included studies underwent data extraction and the data was subsequently analysed. The analysis was conducted by qualitative synthesis of the results. Given the substantial heterogeneity in study design and outcome measures meta-analysis was not done. In addition the existing dataset of the UK IID study was reanalysed to investigate possible associations between self-reported diarrhoea and variables indicative of poor domestic kitchen hygiene RESULTS: Some 14 studies were finally included in subsequent analyses. Of the 14 studies included in this systematic review, 11 were case-control studies, 2 cross-sectional surveys, and 1 RCT. Very few studies identified any significant association with good environmental kitchen hygiene. Although some of the variables in the reanalysis of the UK IID study were statistically significant no obvious trend was seen. CONCLUSION: The balance of the available evidence does not support the hypothesis that poor domestic kitchen hygiene practices are important risk factors for diarrhoeal disease in developed countries.

PMID: 18294383


One Reply to “The five second rule: pros and cons.”

  1. Glad to know that my 8 second rule has not affected me negatively so far. I suppose it all contributes to strengthening our immune systems. Although, I would not let one of my students eat a cookie she dropped on the ground in the middle of NYC. The total ground time was maybe 2 seconds but the possibilities are endless of the potential contamination.

    How delicate is the balance of good gut and bad gut bacteria?

    Keep provoking thoughts.


Tell me what you think!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: