Five second films dating game
The overall amount of bacteria on the surface mattered more, and this decreased over time after the initial inoculation.It looks like what’s at issue is less how long your food languishes on the floor and much more how infested with bacteria that patch of floor happens to be.
We found that the amount of bacteria transferred to either kind of food didn’t depend much on how long the food was in contact with the contaminated surface – whether for a few seconds or for a whole minute.Wondering if food is still OK to eat after it’s been dropped on the floor (or anywhere else) is a pretty common experience. A well-known, but inaccurate, story about Julia Child may have contributed to this food myth.Some viewers of her cooking show, The French Chef, insist they saw Child drop lamb (or a chicken or a turkey, depending on the version of the tale) on the floor and pick it up, with the advice that if they were alone in the kitchen, their guests would never know.And it’s not just dropping food on the floor that can lead to bacterial contamination.Bacteria are carried by various “media,” which can include raw food, moist surfaces where bacteria has been left, our hands or skin and from coughing or sneezing.To find out, we inoculated squares of tile, carpet or wood with Salmonella.
Five minutes after that, we placed either bologna or bread on the surface for five, 30 or 60 seconds, and then measured the amount of bacteria transferred to the food.
Clarke and her colleagues inoculated floor tiles with bacteria then placed food on the tiles for varying times.
They reported bacteria were transferred from the tile to gummy bears and cookies within five seconds, but didn’t report the specific amount of bacteria that made it from the tile to the food.
In fact it was a potato pancake, and it fell on the stovetop, not on the floor.
Child put it back in the pan, saying “But you can always pick it up and if you are alone in the kitchen, who is going to see? It’s harder to pin down the origins of the oft-quoted five-second rule, but a 2003 study reported that 70% of women and 56% of men surveyed were familiar with the five-second rule and that women were more likely than men to eat food that had been dropped on the floor.
While the “five-second rule” might not seem like the most pressing issue for food scientists to get to the bottom of, it’s still worth investigating food myths like this one because they shape our beliefs about when food is safe to eat.