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SnakebyteXX
02-03-2006, 08:56 AM
Think twice if you drop that Super Bowl snack

By Lisa Heyamoto -- Bee Staff Writer

When Fernando Lucero drops a piece of food on the ground, he picks it up. And eats it. Five-second rule, guys - totally makes it OK.

Still, Lucero is no fool. He inspects it before he eats it, of course. And what's more, he blesses the wayward morsel with a kiss and a small prayer so that it doesn't make him sick. Call it spiritual gastrointestinal insurance, but hey, it seems to work.

"I've done it lots of times," said the 13-year-old Elk Grove resident. "And I never got sick."

Been there? If you're like most of us, you have.

Indeed, the five-second rule is part guilty habit, part old wives' tale - a popular conviction that food is still clean if snatched off the ground within five seconds. And one that will probably get some good mileage Sunday at the scads of Super Bowl parties around town.

Yet, it should come as no surprise that the tale turns out to be exactly that - a not-so-legitimate justification for diving after the last cookie.

"I'm not a believer in the five-second rule," said Chuck Gerba, a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona. "I never know what was on the floor before me."

Well, it's true that it's a gross, gross world out there, and even a superficial delving into the details is enough to make the most phobia-phobic person bust out the anti-bacterial hand soap.

For instance, your cutting board contains 200 times more bacteria than your toilet, Gerba said. Your sink? A porcelain E. coli farm. And don't even get him started on that dish sponge.

"You're giving the germs a free ride around the home," Gerba said.

Hmm. Maybe that five-second rule isn't such a good idea, after all.

A few years ago, an ambitious high school student named Jillian Clarke actually put the rule to the test during a seven-week internship at the University of Illinois.

There, in the laboratory, Clarke - who for her efforts later won an Ig Nobel Prize (given by the science humor journal Annals of Improbable Research) - disproved the famous or, more accurately, infamous rule by finding that food had a significant amount of bacteria on it after less than five seconds on floors that had been purposely contaminated.

Even so, Clarke's first experiments - on the actual floor of the lab - revealed a much cleaner surface than expected. Fans of the five-second rule note: Your loophole may start here.

Meanwhile, just last year, "Mythbusters," the Discovery Channel television show that takes famous myths to task, also took on the five-second rule after getting hundreds of requests from folks inquiring after its veracity.

"This myth has been popping up for a long time," said Eric Haven, associate producer of the San Francisco-based show. "I think a lot of people have the experience of dropping something on the floor and (then) someone will eat it."

For their report, the "Mythbusters" crew dropped food on various surfaces, rubbed the items on a petri-dish-like plate, then put it in an incubator. A lab was tapped to analyze it. The findings?

"There are levels of bacteria on every surface of every house and every home," Haven said. "There are low levels of things that in high quantities are quite nasty."

The team also found that the drier the food item, the less yucky stuff it picks up. Which, translated, means cookie, probably OK, and lunch meat, most probably not OK.

Like many folks, Heather Bermudez, 29, knows the five-second rule by its alias, the three-second rule. But, whether it's three, five or 700 seconds, the Elk Grove mom and professed germ freak said she's leaving that food right where it fell.

"If it hits the ground, it's dirty," she said.

Of course, her toddler does not hold the same view.

Though there's been a surprising amount of research into the truth of the rule, little is known about its origins. Who started it? And when did we add those extra two seconds?

Well, no one really knows, but it's thought by some that we owe the beginnings of the five-second rule to Genghis Khan - though he himself was said to have allowed a generous half a day on the floor. Guess it's true what they say about things being much slower back then.

So, it would seem that the moral of the rule is: It's all subjective. Don't fool yourself into believing it's true, but hey, it's not that much worse than what you're touching every day.

But do everyone a favor: Keep it to yourself when you double-dip.


web page (http://www.sacbee.com/content/lifestyle/story/14147066p-14975307c.html)

Deeman3
02-03-2006, 09:15 AM
Snake,

George Calin says he will pick up and eat anything he or someone else drops, on the filthy ground, in India, in a Leper Colony, during an Aids epidemic. I say he's a pretty comitted to the 5 second rule. As for me, I give it up before it hits the ground. I've been to India....


Deeman

wolfdancer
02-03-2006, 12:35 PM
Snake, i don't know if this falls under the 5 sec. rule, but it does sound scuzzy....and hope nobody easily offended reads it....but from CL
web page (http://portland.craigslist.org/rnr/130959070.html)

SPetty
02-03-2006, 02:25 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote wolfdancer:</font><hr> ....but from CL<hr /></blockquote>Did you post the right link? What I got wasn't anything to do with eating food that's been dropped on the floor, but was something not funny at all - some guy thinking he's hot sh!t by ragging on a fat chick?

wolfdancer
02-03-2006, 02:40 PM
It weren't politically kerect, but it's a joke...i think, and I liked the line about the guy cutting off his arm.
I've heer'd worse in locker rooms.
An....somebody here introduced me to the "rants &amp; raves" section there....and the rule there seems to be... no holds barred

SpiderMan
02-03-2006, 02:47 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Deeman3:</font><hr> Snake,

George Calin says he will pick up and eat anything he or someone else drops, on the filthy ground, in India, in a Leper Colony, during an Aids epidemic. I say he's a pretty comitted to the 5 second rule. As for me, I give it up before it hits the ground. I've been to India....

Deeman <hr /></blockquote>

I bet if I dropped a Coleman's Jumbo anywhere near you, it would never HIT the ground /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

SpiderMan

SpiderMan
02-03-2006, 02:48 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SPetty:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote wolfdancer:</font><hr> ....but from CL<hr /></blockquote>Did you post the right link? What I got wasn't anything to do with eating food that's been dropped on the floor, but was something not funny at all - some guy thinking he's hot sh!t by ragging on a fat chick? <hr /></blockquote>

The text was off-topic, but I'll have to say the picture was definitely relevant!

SpiderMan

wolfdancer
02-03-2006, 06:35 PM
I was thinking you got about 5 sec. to get away from this gal, before you end up with a lifetime committment

Deeman3
02-04-2006, 07:47 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SpiderMan:</font><hr> I bet if I dropped a Coleman's Jumbo anywhere near you, it would never HIT the ground /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

SpiderMan <hr /></blockquote> <font color="blue">

Guilty as charged....I had almost forgotten how much I miss them...Thanks...jk /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif </font color>

Deeman