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  #1  
Old 12 May 2007, 09:56 AM
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Icon102 The Five-Second Rule Explored, or How Dirty Is That Bologna?

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A couple of weeks ago I saw a new scientific paper from Clemson University that struck me as both pioneering and hilarious.

Accompanied by six graphs, two tables and equations whose terms include “bologna” and “carpet,” it’s a thorough microbiological study of the five-second rule: the idea that if you pick up a dropped piece of food before you can count to five, it’s O.K. to eat it.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/09/dining/09curi.html
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  #2  
Old 12 May 2007, 05:59 PM
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I will practice the five second rule, but it is dependent upon the type of food and the type of surface it is hitting. Wet foods are garbage if they touch the floor, but a dry food like an MnM falling onto a recently cleaned surface is ok. Bolgna on carpet? Never, you would have carpet hairs sticking to it.
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  #3  
Old 12 May 2007, 08:57 PM
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I practice the 5 second rule if it's something I really want that falls on my kitchen floor. On my carpet, anything that I can blow on, hold up to inspection under the light and detect no fuzzies. Any place else and it's out of the question. Unless it's the last piece of some special chocolate something. That's up for negotiation.
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  #4  
Old 12 May 2007, 11:54 PM
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If it's something wet and rinsable I'd just rinse it to get the hairs off. If it's something dry, I don't count; I just pick it up immediately and in my mind it's ok. Then again I don't have the kind of floors you want to eat from. I don't even want to walk on them in bare feet because my feet get dirty.
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  #5  
Old 13 May 2007, 05:12 PM
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I agree that it much depends on how clean the floor is and how much I want it.

A piece of hard cookie or chiip on a reasonably clean floor? Gimme.

Anything outside? eww. Though I will occasionaly eat a plant bit without washing it.

animal hair get's on anything that's moist, but even an animal hair can be overlooked in special cases.

What about the 5 second drink rule. If something falls in your drink and you can fish it out, is the drink considered fair game? I ask because I once pulled a fairly large cicada out of my wine (and was tempted to shake the critter over the cup to get back the precious liquid)
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  #6  
Old 14 May 2007, 04:23 AM
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In my house it's the if I can grab it before the dog does it's fair game.
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  #7  
Old 14 May 2007, 03:33 PM
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slight hijack

Quote:
Originally Posted by qualli View Post
What about the 5 second drink rule. If something falls in your drink and you can fish it out, is the drink considered fair game? I ask because I once pulled a fairly large cicada out of my wine (and was tempted to shake the critter over the cup to get back the precious liquid)
That reminds me of a joke: An Irishman, Englishman and Scotsman walk into a pub and each order a pint of Guinness. Just as the bartender hands them over, three flies buzz down and one lands in each of the pints. The Englishman looks disgusted, pushes his pint away and demands another pint. The Scotsman picks out the fly, shrugs, and takes a long swallow. The Irishman reaches in to the glass, pinches the fly between his fingers and shakes him and yells, Spit it out, ya bastard! Spit it out!

It happened to my SO. There was a fly in his scotch so he asked for a new glass (we were tempted to say "spit it out" but I don't think many people would have gotten it). There was a fly in that one too. The bartender was mystified. She poured him a thrid glass and guess what there was a fly in that one too. At this point we are all laughing. She opens a new bottle and he finally got a glass without a fly. The bartender poured the rest of the old bottle in a glass and three more flies came out.

And in answer to your question, alcohol kills germs and worms, so do what you like

/hijack
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  #8  
Old 14 May 2007, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qualli View Post
I agree that it much depends on how clean the floor is and how much I want it.

A piece of hard cookie or chiip on a reasonably clean floor? Gimme.

Anything outside? eww. Though I will occasionaly eat a plant bit without washing it.

animal hair get's on anything that's moist, but even an animal hair can be overlooked in special cases.
Yay, I'm the first to mention that they did this experiment on Mythbusters!

Like you say, after a series of experiments they pretty much come to the conclusion that the time the food spends on the floor is about the least relevant factor in determining how contaminated it gets:

Quote:
They found that the amount of bacteria that was picked up depended on the moisture of food, the surface geometry of food, and the location that it was dropped on, but there was no correlation to the amount of time it was dropped.
http://kwc.org/mythbusters/2005/10/m...nvasion_a.html

- Il-Mari
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  #9  
Old 14 May 2007, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckie Queen View Post
slight hijack



That reminds me of a joke: An Irishman, Englishman and Scotsman walk into a pub and each order a pint of Guinness. Just as the bartender hands them over, three flies buzz down and one lands in each of the pints. The Englishman looks disgusted, pushes his pint away and demands another pint. The Scotsman picks out the fly, shrugs, and takes a long swallow. The Irishman reaches in to the glass, pinches the fly between his fingers and shakes him and yells, Spit it out, ya bastard! Spit it out!



/hijack
Nitpick - it's actually the Scotsman that demands the fly spits it out, due to the stereotype of the Scots being stingy.
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  #10  
Old 14 May 2007, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
Nitpick - it's actually the Scotsman that demands the fly spits it out, due to the stereotype of the Scots being stingy.
I always thought it was more to do with it was their favorite drink. Therefore Scots would yell at the fly over scotch and Irish over Guinness. You would be right if the drink was scotch but it's Guinness. I've never heard of Scottish people being stingy. When I went to Scotland everyone was great.
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  #11  
Old 14 May 2007, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckie Queen View Post
I always thought it was more to do with it was their favorite drink. Therefore Scots would yell at the fly over scotch and Irish over Guinness. You would be right if the drink was scotch but it's Guinness. I've never heard of Scottish people being stingy. When I went to Scotland everyone was great.
I don't mean to imply Scots people actually are stingy - it's merely a stereotype used in lots of jokes that they are.

Just as, in jokes, English are uptight, Irish are stupid (I think in the US the Poles fill this role) and the Welsh 'tend' to their sheep. It doesn't make it right.

Also I have heard the joke many times with soup being substituted for an alcoholic beverage.
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  #12  
Old 15 May 2007, 01:26 AM
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Well, facts aside, the five second rule is a joke. It never was intended to mean anything more than, I'm eating this thing that fell on the floor but it's fine because I called the five second rule. Where I come from, it's not a five second rule, just because. It only works if you call it. Of course, most of us don't bother to call it, it's just implied. Calling the five second rule puts a protective force field around your food, keep any germs safely away.

ETA: Calling the five second rule is really only necessary if there's a witness to your uncouthness.
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  #13  
Old 15 May 2007, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tagurit View Post
Well, facts aside, the five second rule is a joke. It never was intended to mean anything more than, I'm eating this thing that fell on the floor but it's fine because I called the five second rule.
Exactly. And I call "thread drift," to introduce other "rules" that are not meant seriously, but are repeated often enough that they could become ULs:
  • The broken cookie pieces (or cake slivers, etc.) have no calories. (You can say a doctor told you this!)
  • One is not required to come to a full stop at a stop sign with white borders.
Others?
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  #14  
Old 15 May 2007, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tagurit View Post
Well, facts aside, the five second rule is a joke.
That's why I'm always surprised at those earnest articles saying, "No, it really can be contaminated in less than 5 seconds." Well, yes. But sometimes you just don't care!
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  #15  
Old 15 May 2007, 02:55 PM
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Most bacteria will be destroyed in your stomach acid anyways. And food posioning is unlikely unless you let the food sit for over an hour after you pick it up off the floor.
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  #16  
Old 15 May 2007, 03:17 PM
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I think there is common sense in that. If it is to be cooked immediately, at a reasonably high temperature, then it shouldn't be an issue from a pthological viewpoint.

I confess I have dropped food on the floor, then proceeded to cook and serve it. I do rinse it under the tap to remove dust and fluff, but that's for aesthetic rather than hygiene reasons.

Case in point. Yesterday I pulled a partially used bag of frozen chips (fries) out of the freezer. Wrong way up. All over the floor, shops are shut, no alternative, what do I do? Yep scoop them up and fry them. I figured that 5 1/2 minutes at 190 degrees C should take care of anything they had picked up.

If I drop cooked food on the floor at the point of serving, then I will make sure it ends up on my plate rather than the lizardlings (that and swear a bit), but I still seem to be aliv...

The exception I suppose would be food that you are preparing for later cooking, or maybe food meant to be served raw, which you intend to serve later. In which case the nasties have a chance of leaving their toxic residues.

In addition, is food ever completely sterile? Are you hands completely sterile even after a good wash? Your knife? Your chopping board? Even if you've sterilised your implements when you washed them, if any length of time has elapsed until you use them, something will have floated out of the air and landed on them.

Last edited by Eddylizard; 15 May 2007 at 03:23 PM.
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  #17  
Old 16 May 2007, 01:43 AM
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Icon23 Restaurant five second rule

As a former waitress for ten years in a very clean, very respected steak house in West Texas, I have heard many stories of the five second rule. At our restaurant, ANY food on the floor had to be thrown away. Not only food that had been cooked, or was about to be cooked, but also a potato that was wrapped in foil or butter in an individual container. The theory behind the butter (and potato, which is more understandable to me) is that these were likely to come into contact with the food and therefore would contaminate the food also. When opening a thirty pound box of individually wrapped butters and the bottom falls out, scattering country crock on the floor, the managers and owners would really want to reconsider the decision, but the customer was always out first. It was a pain during a busy run to have to take plates, cups and saucers to the dishwasher every time something fell on the floor, but that was the only sure way no one else would pick it up and use it. It was always funny to get a new waiter/waitress who would try to justify it by saying in a surly tone, "but only the bottom of the plate was on the floor." Yeah, well, the customer might actually pick the plate up for some crazy reason and therefore everything else might as well have come off the floor anyway.
We lost many people because they just couldn't get this into their heads. Then we would hear the stories of the restaurants they had worked in before. Food and cutting knives falling on the floor and the cooks would simply pick them up, wipe them off on their dirty aprons, and never think about it again. One waiter even told us how their dishwaser was so slow the servers would pick through the dirty glasses for the cleanest ones, wipe off any lipstick they saw, and reuse them.
Now in my house, on the floor is fair game. If you are hungry and you wanted it... get it. If someone else wants it... they eat it. As long as someone picks it up so I don't have to clean more than once a week, we'll all be fine.
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  #18  
Old 26 May 2007, 04:01 AM
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Icon23 Food research contaminates 'five-second rule'

Given gravity, we all face the dilemma: Does the food you drop belong in your mouth or the garbage can?

http://www.news-journalonline.com/Ne...AD03052207.htm
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  #19  
Old 06 August 2007, 12:18 AM
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Icon23 That Dropped Doughnut: How Soon, and How Often, Will It Come Back Up?

Scientists at Clemson University in South Carolina determined that applying the five-second rule to dropped food will not actually prevent the food from gathering bacteria.

The nation's reaction to this: Duh.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...070701294.html
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  #20  
Old 06 August 2007, 12:29 AM
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It's nice to know that the university near my home town is doing worthwhile research.
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