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The Five-Second Rule

seconds.jpg With a nod to Vincent's earlier post on bacteria-eating maggots, some more food for (unappetizing) thought: the Five-Second Rule, a hallowed hallmark of elementary-school cafeterias everywhere, has officially been debunked. According to an article published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, we really shouldn't be comforting ourselves with the notion that dropped food, picked up in less than five seconds, is clean enough to eat (unless you'd be willing to eat off the floor itself).

The authors of the article build on the work of Jillian Clarke, who as a high school intern pioneered research on the Five-Second Rule, for which she received the 2004 Ig Nobel Prize in public health. (The Ig Nobel is bestowed on scientists whose research "first makes people LAUGH, then makes them THINK.") Among Clarke's findings? Sweet treats are much more likely to be picked up and eaten than vegetables.

The Five-Second Rule, or How Dirty is That Bologna [NYT]
Clarke's Findings
Journal of Applied Microbiology [article abstract]

Photo from cavitationjunkie's flickr stream


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