The five reasons science can't take the five-second rule from me


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That hot dog is still good, right?
  • That hot dog is still good, right?

It's one of the last great questions faced by humankind: Do you eat something that has just fallen on the floor if you can get it back to your mouth in five seconds?

The New York Times will tell you that it's the "Zero-Second Rule." That scientific data suggests that once it's on the floor, it's gone because bacteria transfer is immediate. The science is sound, but I'm still not convinced it's enough to end the five-second rule. Thus, here are the five reasons that I'm hanging on to the classic guideline for dropped food.

5. I have standards. If it's wet or noticeably covered in pet hair, then a food item is headed for the trash. It's not like I will just eat anything that has dropped on the floor.

4. I have no standards. I've eaten pre-chewed food from my toddler and refused to accept that my dog's potential lick of an ice-cream bowl has sullied the entire contents. I recognize that I'm a gross person.

3. It lands package-side up. If there's no direct contact with the floor, then it's game on. If it's half in and half out of the package, then see reason No. 5. If you still need an excuse to eat it, see reason No. 4. 

2. Necessity. If it's a choice between the aforementioned child or dog eating something (assuming it's poisonous to said dog) and me scarfing it down, I'll take one for the team. If a child is yelling and a dog is whining, one doesn't always make the most rational choice.

1. We all make mistakes. You shouldn't be denied the last cookie or a slice of your great-aunt's banana bread because of butter fingers. Some foods are simply worth the risk.

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