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26 September, 2007

Health Tips-8: "Is the 'Five Second Rule' safe?"

Almost everyone has dropped some food on the floor and still wanted to eat it. If someone saw your drop it, he or she might have yelled, "5-second rule!" This so-called rule says food is OK to eat it you pick it up in 5 seconds or less.

Believe it or not, scientists have tested the rule. We are sorry to report it is not necessarily true. Bacteria can attach itself to your food even if you pick it up super-fast. But will your dropped food contain enough bacteria to make you sick? It is possible and that is why you should not eat food that has hit the floor.

Here is what you need to know about the 5-second rule: A clean floor is not necessarily clean.

A floor that looks dirty is usually worse, but even dry floors that look clean can contain bacteria. Why? Some germs can survive on the floor for a long time. And unless you have a powerful microscope, you can't check to see how many germs are there. So chances are, some bacteria are probably living on your kitchen floor and the cafeteria floor at school.

Fast may not be fast enough. Bacteria can attach to your food as soon as it hits the floor. That means food left on the floor for an instant can get contaminated, if conditions are right. And foods with wet surfaces, like apple slice, can pick up bacteria easily.

When in doubt, toss it out. Some bacteria are not harmful. But others can give you awful stuff, like diarrhoea. You can't see the bacteria and even if you could, it does not take much to make you sick. So what are you to do with that delicious piece of whatever that just slipped from your grip? The safest choice is to throw it out. Or give it to your brother. Just kidding! (MCT)

Courtesy: Deccan Chronicle, Chennai of Sep.24, 2007

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