The Myth of the 5-Second Rule

Imagine this: you’re enjoying a delicious, hot buttery tub of popcorn. Suddenly, it slips out of your hand and this amazing treat that you’ve been looking forward to all day is on the floor. What now? Are you one of those people who wisely take it to the trash, or do you subscribe to the 5-second rule?

Ever since we’ve been old enough to drop food and pick it up again, we’ve all heard of this “rule.” But why would anyone believe that a 5-second buffer zone works?

Here are some surprising facts:

Why 5 Seconds?

Bacteria is a living organism, so the longer the food is on the ground, the more time the bacteria has to get on your food. So, yes, food that’s only been on the floor for one second will probably have less bacteria than it will after five seconds, but that doesn’t mean it’s bacteria-free.

Women Follow the Rule More than Men

In a survey done by doctoral candidates at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, women were found not only to be more familiar with the 5-second rule than men, but they were also more likely to pick up fallen food from the ground and “safely” eat it by invoking the rule.

People Only Use the 5-Second Rule for Delicious Food

Researchers have found that people are more likely to use 5-second rule when they drop foods like candy and cookies on the ground instead of something like broccoli or cauliflower.

Invisibility Is Misleading

Because germs are invisible, some people find them easy to ignore. But don’t kid yourself – they’re still out there.

So where do you fit in? Are you someone who trusts the 5-second rule, or are you someone who won’t eat anything if it’s fallen on the floor — even if it’s something you really love to eat?

No matter where you fall on the 5-second spectrum, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen has a lot of craveable, made-from-scratch menu options that we serve safely on the table. So come on in for food so delicious you won’t take a chance on dropping it.

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