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5-second dropped-food rule debunked
Good news for sloppy chowhounds - that food you dropped on the floor is still safe to eat 30 seconds later.
By Chris Reidy, Globe staff
In the interest of culinary science, student researchers at Connecticut College conducted exacting experiments in the dining hall and the snack bar to see how long it takes for food dropped on the floor to attract rogue bacteria, the New London college said in a press release today.
Working under the supervision of assistant professor Anne Bernhard, the two cell-and-molecular biology students experimented with samples of wet food (apple slices) and dry food (Skittles candy); food samples were left on the floor for various intervals, then analyzed for contamination, the college said.
According to Goettsche and Moin, the results of their research showed that people can wait as long as 30 seconds to pick up wet foods and even longer for dry foods.
Another potential finding perhaps: Either rogue bacteria don't particularly like Skittles or the candies are impervious to their immediate depredations; in the students' research, nearly five minutes elapsed before Skittles on the floor showed a bacterial presence.
In a statement, Goettsche said: "The five-second rule should probably be renamed. You actually have a little more time."
Moral of this story? Eat more skittles.