As a kid, I grew up eating stuff that had the three-second rule applied to it – usually toast. You know the rule: if food falls on the floor, it’s OK to eat it if it’s been only been on the floor for 3 seconds or less. I must have scraped the equivalent of several pounds of fluff off innocent pieces of toast. Pieces of orange or apple got quickly rinsed under the kitchen tap. My mum’s motto was “Waste not, want not”, possibly taken to extreme.
There’s an article today on the top five food safety myths. Honestly, it’s a miracle that my brothers and I didn’t have galloping food poisoning through our childhood.
Seriously, in an average kitchen or dining room where people do not wear their outside shoes (ie everyone has slippers or bare feet), is the bacteria concentration sufficient to make someone keel over from eating toast that landed on the floor? I don’t have the lab facilities to hand to investigate this, nor does DH (he’s the practising scientist in our family).
I know that Mythbusters did an item on which way toast lands on the floor in season three but there were no bacteria counts. They did another test on the five-second rule contrasting bacteria counts from food left for 2 seconds and 6 seconds, finding that there was little difference. However, there was no distinction made between different floor surfaces. Must admit, I am a fan of How Clean is Your House? for the horror movie petri dishes from various corners of ill-repute in filthy houses. But they don’t do it on (normally) clean houses. ETA: Here is an article on salmonella transfer experiment.
I’ll leave the last word to the SMH article:
Of course, this [refutation of the three-second rule] does not apply to extremely yummy foods (e.g. chocolate) or expensive items such as truffles.