New Research Adds Further Confusion to the 3-Second Rule
It’s a time honored rule that has often been question and debated: when food falls to the ground, how many seconds can it lay there before it becomes crawling with bacteria and filth?
Researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University conducted their own experiment to test the three-second rule and found that certain foods were more prone to picking up bacteria than others.
We’ve all been there, you’re on a hot date and a kernel of popcorn slips through the cracks of your greasy fingers and falls to the dirty movie theater floor. Do you pick it up? I mean, the cost of movie popcorn is no joke, doing the math on that $14 Venti bucket could constitute damn near $0.49 a kernel, or some terrible math like that.
This is just one of many dilemmas we face on a daily basis as consumers of food that has floor touching potential.
The experiment, conducted by MNU researchers, involved dropping foods like dry biscuits, ham, cooked pasta, bread with jam and dried fruit and examining the amount of bacteria that adhered to each food.
The result? Apparently bacteria didn’t adhere very much to the dry biscuit, allowing for safe eating even after 10 seconds of floor occupancy. The ham’s salt and nitrates were also good at blocking pesky bacteria from quickly finding its way onto the food.
Ham is a processed meat preserved with salt and nitrates which prevents the growth of most bacteria. — MNU technical officer Kathy Lees
The experiment did reveal that the cooked pasta and the dried fruit were the quickest receptors of harmful bacteria. Within just three seconds, the pasta had picked up harmful bacteria, and the dried fruit picked it up within five.
As a result of this study, I am now even more confused by how confidently I can enforce the three-second rule in my daily routine. The generalized study results probably don’t encompass the specificity of different floor cleanliness levels. I’m sure pasta dropped onto a floor that was just washed as opposed to one that hasn’t seen a mop in years could mean the difference between an awesome second-chance pepperoni slice, or a bacteria-laced stray Skittle.
Of the study’s extremely small sample of five mothers, all admitted embracing the three second rule when at home, while all admitting they would trash anything dropped on the floor when out in public.
Moral of the story? Keep your floors clean, pasta seems to get dirty more quickly than ham, and don’t drop things on the floor that you plan to eat. Simple enough, right?
You’re welcome for the lack of information.
TOP STORIES THIS WEEK
- Elie AyrouthPublisher
- Geoff KutnickContent Director
- Rudy ChaneyProduct Development Director
- Charisma MadarangAssociate Editor
- Dominique ZamoraStaff Writer
- Brian YamamotoContributor
- Peter PhamContributor
- Patrick KhensovanContributor
- Kiera Wright-RuizContributor
- Isai RochaContributor
- Danielle MooradianContributor
- Cris WilcoxonContributor
- Aziza-Mistral SullivanContributor
- Dominique BoubionContributor
- Emily VillanuevaContributor
- Joey NargizianContributor
- Maziar AziziContributor
- Jennifer LaiContributor
- The Glut LifeRecipe Contributor
- Becky McKayRecipe Contributor
- Katerina PetrovskaRecipe Contributor
- Natalie PurcelRecipe Contributor