Saturday, October 15, 2016

Why you CAN eat food after it's been dropped on the floor: Doctor busts the five-second rule myth (and reveals the kitchen counter is much dirtier)

Indiana university professor Dr Aaron E Carroll says we shouldn't be too worried about dropping food on the floor - as other household surfaces are much dirtier

Do you follow the five-second rule - the guideline that says it's okay to eat food from the floor if you pick it up straight away?
If so, then you may welcome the advice of one doctor, who says we shouldn't be remotely worried about eating anything that's been on the floor - no matter how long it's been there.
Aaron E Carroll, Indiana University's professor of pediatrics, says he eats food that's been on the floor - rejecting the advice of a recent study that suggests food dropped on the floor will pick up any bacteria in just one second, rather than five. 

Dr Carroll told the New York Times that we should instead be more concerned with how much bacteria is on other household surfaces compared to the floor.
He says there are far dirtier places in a typical house than the floor - such as the handle of a fridge, the kitchen sink and the kitchen counter, highlighting several studies that back up his claims.
And while he acknowledges that food does pick up bacteria as soon as it's come into contact with it, he says food could be contaminated just as easily as the floor by touching other household items before handling food.

But before you reach for the bleach and anti-bacterial wipes in a panic, the professor says this revelation is no cause for alarm.
Dr Carroll wrote: 'People react to news like this in one of two ways.
'One is to become paranoid about everything...The alternative is to realize that for most of
us, our immune systems are pretty hardy.
'We've all been touching this dirty stuff for a long time, without knowing it, and doing just fine.'
To back up his point, he pointed to a study by Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology and environmental sciences at the University of Arizona.  

 Relax if you've dropped food on the floor and eaten it - Dr Carroll says our immune systems are hardy enough to cope with any bacteria picked up from the ground

In 1998, he and a team of researchers ran tests to see how dirty common household surfaces and items were.
While the kitchen floor harboured, on average, about three colonies of coliform bacteria, the fridge handle had just over five colonies per square inch, while the kitchen counter had even more at 5.75 colonies per square inch. 
So while the floor does harbour bacteria, we should probably be more worried about food touching our disgusting kitchen counters before eating it, he says.
Dr Carroll says the same principle applies to the bathroom.
Most people believe the toilet seat is the dirtiest surface in the bathroom.
But the same study found that it only harboured 0.68 colonies per square inch on average, while the the flush handle had a disgusting 34.65 colonies per square inch, with the tap on the sink harbouring 15.84 colonies per square inch. 
Dr Carroll says the best way to ensure you don't get ill from these bacteria is to simply wash your hands before eating food.
He wrote: 'If I drop food on the floor, I still eat it. 
'I do that because the harm I might get from the floor is not worth my concern compared with many, many other things. You may feel differently. 

 In this recession? with my floors mopped with detergents daily, I'll pick and wack.

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