WAIT. Before you eat that chip off the ground, read this.
We all do it — don’t even try to deny it.
Drop a few French fries? A cookie? A freshly toasted bagel? As long as it's been on the ground for less than five seconds, then it's good — right?
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The rule assumes that if food only touches the ground for a few seconds, it hasn’t even picked up enough germs to be inedible.
But…is that true? We reached out to germ expert, Dr. Charles Gerba, professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, to find out if there's really a time limit on eating food off the floor.
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Here’s the thing: Food instantly picks up all the germs from the ground wherever it falls. So the rule is pretty much bogus.
Germs don't wait. The second a piece of food makes contact with the floor, any germs on that spot will transfer to the food. Bacteria and viruses can't jump or move around, so it's not like they're slowly crawling onto a piece of food from the floor and increasing with every second.
“Countless studies have shown that food has the same amount of germs from the ground whether it's been five seconds or ten minutes,” says Gerba.
Basically, the rule is more psychological than scientific.
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