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Science Says: The 5-Second Rule Isn’t A Real Thing, You’re Just Gross

We know it's hard to say goodbye to good eats but sometimes you just have to. 
Science Says: The 5-Second Rule Isn’t A Real Thing, You’re Just Gross
George Crudo/Getty Creative Image

We know it’s hard to say goodbye to good food, but when something hits the floor, the experts say you really should let it be.

A new study published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology dispells the popular belief that you have five seconds to save a dropped bite of food before it’s unsafe to eat.

Results from two academic laboratories detail that the transfer time for bacteria to contaminate food happens “instantaneously” and at times n less than one second.

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To test out their theory, scientists at Rutgers University tested four foods (watermelon, bread, bread and butter, and gummy sweets) on four surfaces: carpet, ceramic tile, stainless steel and wood.

Reachers explored the contact times for each food with each floor material and measured the bacteria contamination for each and it was discovered that watermelon had the most contamination and gummy sweets had the least. The results also revealed that the transfer of bacteria from surfaces to food is affected most by moisture. Of the surfaces tested, carpet also fared better when it came to contamination transfer than tile or stainless steel.

Um, yuck!