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Five-second rule: food hygiene myth uncovered

Here we’ll explore tips for basic food hygiene and whether eating food off the floor is ever safe.

We’ve all heard of the 5 second rule food myth, either from our kids or from when we were young ourselves. While most adults will agree that eating we’ve dropped – even within five seconds of dropping it – is not a hygienic idea, here we’ll explore basic food hygiene and whether or not eating food off the floor is ever safe.

Top food hygiene rules

Good kitchen hygiene is key to keeping yourself and those around you healthy. These are some basic food hygiene rules to always follow:

  • Always wash your hands before handling food, and throughout the process of preparing, cooking and before eating the food.
  • Fruit and vegetables may be best in their natural state, but other foods such as milk and poultry are best used when processed for safety.
  • Keep kitchen surfaces clean with good quality products like Cif, especially when working with raw meat.
  • Cook food thoroughly, especially meats like chicken to prevent food poisoning.
  • Avoid contact between raw and cooked meats to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Store food at the correct temperature, for example in the fridge or a cool dry cupboard.

Debunking the 5 second rule food myth

Eating food off the floor is something that scientist have thoroughly studied, using tests which show it is not safe to do so. Here are a few things you should know about when food is dropped on the floor.

  • Food becomes contaminated as soon as it hits the floor, no matter how long it sits there for. It is worth noting that wet foods like melon will become contaminated more quickly than other foods.
  • Food that has fallen on the floor being contaminated doesn’t always mean it’s visible. Whilst specks of dirt pet hair and other things may be obvious on the surface of food, bacteria that could make you ill cannot be seen with the naked eye.
  • No matter how clean your house looks, your floor is most likely to be covered in bacteria due to people and pets walking over it.

Now you know that the 5 second rule food myth is exactly that, a myth. Be sure that you follow our tips for basic food hygiene, and explain to your children that eating food off the floor is not safe!

Key Steps

  • Keep your home as clean as possible, but remember bacteria that could make you ill can’t be seen.
  • Food becomes contaminated as soon as it hits the floor, therefore it’s probably unsafe to eat.
  • Make sure you wash your hands regularly, especially when preparing food and before you eat.

Top Tip

Keep on top of your kitchen hygiene by cleaning regularly using high quality products like Cif to ensure that bacteria that could make you ill is kept at bay.