The 5-Second Rule: Should You Eat Food After It Has Fallen on the Ground?

Is the legend of the "Five Second Rule" fact or fiction?

The “rule” states if you drop food on the ground, you've got five seconds before it's too dirty to eat.

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To find out the truth, Inside Edition conducted an experiment to see if people would really eat something that fell on the ground.

Inside Edition’s Steven Fabian went around New York City asking people if they would eat one of two cookies that dropped on the ground.

Many operated under the "rule." 

But a recent study at Rutgers University has proven no one should never eat anything that drops on the floor — even for a second.

Professor Donald Schaffner told Inside Edition: “Our research shows that even in a fraction of a second, bacteria can transfer from almost any surface to any of the foods we tested."

The professor repeatedly dropped food samples onto four different surfaces: Stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood and carpet. He then let them stay on the surfaces for a fraction of a second, 5 seconds and 30 seconds. 

He said: "Watermelon was the food most likely to acquire bacteria, from any of the surfaces we tested, and carpets surprisingly [were] the surface that transferred the least amount of bacteria."

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The researchers found that stainless steel was the surface most likely to transfer the largest amount of bacteria.

Gummy candy, probably because it's low in moisture, had the least amount of contamination.

“If you happen to drop food on a floor or counter top that contains a pathogenic bacteria, there is a very good chance you could get sick from that," he said.

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