You’ve probably heard of the “5-second rule,” the notion that if you pick up dropped food quickly, it remains germ-free. Actually, a high school student busted this myth in 2003, with a simple study involving gummy bears and cookies.
When Jillian Clarke put these foods on floor tiles infected with E. coli bacteria for five seconds, then analyzed the food for bacteria, she found that in all cases, the food was contaminated, putting anyone who ate it at risk for a nasty case of food poisoning. The teen’s research was honored by the Annals of Improbable Research with the 2004 Ig Nobel Prize in public health, the New York Times reports.
A more elaborate study, involving tiles, carpet and wood infected with Salmonella, and slices of bread and bologna, found that bacteria can survive on these surfaces for up to four weeks in large enough quantities to make people sick. What’s more, salmonella is transferred to food almost instantly on contact, researchers from Clemson University report.
Also Read: The Most Dangerous Surfaces To Touch