Five-Second Rule? Better Think Twice

Kitchen floors are germ-infested zones
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2010 1:42 PM CDT

(Newser) – The 5-second rule may or may not protect your stomach from nasty germs (here's a no, here's a yes), but it probably depends more on location than duration, writes Julie Deardorff, who rounds up recent studies and talks to scientists for her Health Club column in the Chicago Tribune. Kitchen and bathroom floors, for instance, are nasty places where a 0-second rule is wise. The sidewalk, on the other hand, is safer because it's less likely to harbor the germs that cause illness.

A kitchen floor "is probably a zero-second zone because the bacteria from uncooked meat and chicken juices are more hazardous than the ‘soil’ bacteria outside,” says one medical expert on the subject. Ditto for a bathroom floor because "it’s a great potential source of bacteria and shorter-lived viruses that can cause gastrointestinal illness if ingested.”

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