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The 5 second rule - cleaning tips for staying healthy


According to scientific research, the 5-second rule for food that has fallen on the ground is at least partially true, depending on the type of food and the surface of the floor. The best way to safeguard against infection from contamination is to regularly and thoroughly clean floors, especially laminated tile surfaces. To separate fact from fiction, read on. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The 5 second rule - cleaning tips for staying healthy

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  • If youre reading this, chances are youve heard
    of the 5-second rule, the urban legend that
    says that any food dropped on the floor is still
    germ-free as long as its picked up within 5
    seconds. But how much truth is there to the
    5-second rule? Is it fact, or complete fiction?

  • According to a study by an Aston University
    research team, the 5-second rule is something
    that adults believe in just as much as kids
  • 87 of people surveyed said that they would eat
    food that has been dropped on the floor.
  • 55 of people who answered yes to the previous
    question were women 81 of women interviewed
    said they would use the 5-second rule to
    determine whether or not something dropped on the
    floor was still safe to eat.1

  • Weve all been there before a nice hot piece of
    toast, or a clean fork, or some other once-clean
    food item or dining accessory drops on the floor,
    and we snatch it back up, look for obvious signs
    of dirt or other contamination, and then
    immediately start trying to rationalize why its
    still OK to put it in our mouths. The simple
    fact, however, is that once a food item touches
    the ground it has absorbed bacteria and germs, no
    matter how short a time it sits there.

  • Scientific consensus on the 5-second rule says
    that when a piece of food hits the ground, some
    amount of bacteria has already been transferred.2
    Still, food that is one with the ground for only
    a short period of time will likely have less
    bacteria than food that sits on the floor for
    longer. Whether or not something should still be
    eaten after hitting the floor depends largely on
    what kind of food was dropped, how clean the
    floor is, and a little bit of common sense.

  • One of the biggest factors at play in the
    transference of bacteria is the consistency of
    the food item in question. If picked up (very)
    quickly, a dry or non-sticky food item (chips,
    cookies, etc.) is not likely to have picked up
    much bacteria. Moist or sticky foods, on the
    other hand, will have absorbed much more bacteria
    in the short time theyve been on the floor. This
    includes meats, buttered toast, and other foods
    with a permeable or soft surface to which
    bacteria can stick.

  • The kind of flooring material a piece of food has
    been dropped on also matters. According to the
    Aston University study, carpet is the surface
    least likely to transfer bacteria.1 The types of
    flooring that are the most likely to contaminate
    a food item are tile, wood, and other laminated
    surfaces.3 This is especially true for laminated
    surfaces in high foot traffic areas and public

  • A study by the University of Arizona identified
    nine different species of bacteria living on
    peoples shoes including kinds that can cause
    eye, lung, and stomach infections. The same study
    also found that these bacteria were more likely
    to live longer on the bottom of shoes than on any
    other surface, and that 90-95 of said bacteria
    could eventually transfer to a tile floor.2

  • Whether or not you believe in the 5-second rule
    and science says that theres reason to believe
    its (at least partially) true the best
    safeguard that can be taken against contaminating
    food is to keep floors as clean as possible. This
    is especially true for schools and other public
    places, where children are more likely to eat
    food that has hit the ground, and where the
    chance of contamination is high.

  • Performance Systems Janitorial offers great deals
    on new and refurbished cleaning and janitorial
    supplies to schools, office buildings, and
    cleaning companies. PS Janitorials cleaning
    supplies and equipment, including floor sweepers
    and walk behind floor scrubbers, help keep floors
    clean, and food safe to eat. For more information
    and to view our inventory, please visit

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