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Research Says Our ‘5 Second Rule’ is Off

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My co-workers here at the radio station are pretty good at obeying that unwritten “Five Second Rule.”

You know, when you drop something on the floor, you have five seconds to pick it up and pop it in your mouth. After five seconds, apparently it becomes too dirty and germy for consumption.

Did you know this applies to countertops as well as the floor? Researchers say countertops, where we prepare food, are actually more germ-ridden than that dirty, icky floor. Oh dear, we’re in big trouble.

Researchers used carrots as the test food, and put those on several test surfaces. The countertop turned out to be dirtier than carpeted and tiled surfaces. And according to the study by San Diego State University, germs routinely reached the carrot in under five seconds. Apparently we have to come up with a Two Second Rule now. And we may have to start making our sandwiches on the floor since that appears to be cleaner.

And as parents, we can’t even think of all the times we’ve dropped the baby’s pacifier, shouted “five second rule!” and popped it back in the baby’s mouth. This is now, officially, bad parenting.

If you’re having an afternoon snack at work today, hang on tight!

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