Most of us have invoked the ‘5 second-rule’ at least once or twice in our lives after dropping something really tasty on the ground. But a new study reveals that this rule is not safe and we should be more careful with bacteria.
After doing a lot of studies, researchers at Rutgers University, located in New Brunswick found out that bacteria occurs just one second after dropping the food on the ground. So the ‘five-second rule’ failed to pass the sanitary test, making us think twice and be more careful with bacteria.
“The five-second rule is a significant oversimplification of what happens when bacteria transfer from a surface to food. Bacteria can contaminate instantaneously.”
declared Donald Schaffner, professor and lead researcher of the study.
The researchers dropped different textures of food, such as bread, watermelon and gummy candy on surfaces including, stainless steel, ceramic tiles, carpeting, and wood. Also, the surfaces used for the research were dried completely before each kind of food was dropped.
Each of these surfaces was contaminated with Enterobacter aerogenes , a salmonella-like bacteria for various lengths of time. After letting the food sit on the surface for one to three hundred seconds, the scientists evaluated the way the bacteria was transferred to each food item from each surface. Overall, a total of 2,560 measurements were taken.
The results of the research showed that the contamination of the food could occur in less than one second but the longer exposure of the food to the contaminated surface made the spread of germs even worse. The wetter the food was, the more bacteria was revealed.
“Transfer of bacteria from surfaces to food appears to be affected most by moisture. Bacteria don’t have legs, they move with the moisture, and the wetter the food, the higher the risk of transfer. Also, longer food contact times usually result in the transfer of more bacteria from each surface to food,”
said Donald Schaffner.
From the food items used for the study, Gummy candy was the least contaminated with bacteria and watermelon was the most contaminated. The study showed that germs and bacteria transfer easily to moist or wet foods.
The food items dropped on wood surfaces were more contaminated with bacteria than those dropped on tile, carpet samples or stainless steel.
“The topography of the surface and food seem to play an important role in bacterial transfer,”
The results of the research were published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a scientific journal.
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