Health expert Dr Miriam Stoppard has confirmed that the age-old theory of the ‘five-second rule’ is a perfectly hygienic thing to do.
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So the next time your buddy squirms after you drop your food on the floor, immediately pick it up and then eat it, tell them that you’re actually doing your body a favour. As Miriam points out, being exposed to the 99.9% of household germs that linger in our homes is good for us. Eating dropped food introduces your body to common household germs, which it needs to create a healthy immune system.
According to research carried out by professor Anthony Hilton of Aston University in Birmingham, nine out of 10 people say they have eaten food dropped on the floor:
I have three young boys who have grown up dropping toast on the floor and picking it up again.
In my own home, which I know to be hygienically clean, the risk of them picking up anything nasty with the toast is very, very low.
He added that it’s cool for the floor in your home, but perhaps not in the street where there are likely more dangerous germs or bugs knocking about. But that’s a given – I don’t think many people apply the rule outside of the home.
With regards to potentially more dangerous bacterium such as E.coli or salmonella, for these to cause you harm you’d have to ingest a ‘pathological dose’ – basically millions of bacteria in one go. It’s not possible to get this dose from the floor, so it is usually harmless.
In conclusion, eating food that has been dropped on the floor is fine – just don’t go wiping your burger on dirty street pavements and you won’t catch anything nasty. Which I think we all pretty much knew anyway, but it’s nice to have it confirmed by professionals.
For a slightly more disturbing story on bacteria, check out this Polish company that made a brew beer from a model’s vaginal bacteria. Bottom’s up.