New research has found that the “five-second rule” actually has some truth behind it.
The “five-second rule” is a belief that food is safe to eat if it is picked up in five seconds or less after being dropped.
According to CBS News, researchers at Aston University in Birmingham, U.K. studied the rate of bacteria transfer in food items dropped on the floor and picked up within three to 30 seconds. They found that the amount of time an item spent on the floor was directly related to bacteria levels.
The research team dropped different types of food and studied the results.
They found that sticky foods were more likely to pick up bacteria than dry foods and that the longer a piece of food is left on the ground is directly related to bacteria levels.
Bacteria transfer levels of food dropped on tile or laminate floors were higher than carpeting.
The research has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, and findings should be considered preliminary.
In conducting the study, the team also carried out a small survey and found that most people they spoke to — 87 percent — have at some point eaten food that had been dropped on the floor, and more than half of them, 55 percent, were women.