by Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom
Food safety advice is everywhere, and we’re always hearing debates about “use by dates” and “sell by dates” as well as the “right” internal temperature for meat consumption. Yes, food-borne illness is a problem, and we’re always looking for ways to minimize this.
One of the most overlooked ways to avoid food borne illness comes in the form of one of the most often-cited “old wives tale” – called the “5-Second Rule.” It goes like this: any food dropped on the floor and picked up within 5 seconds is safe to eat. Sounds crazy, right? But you’d be amazed how many people adhere to this! The rationale that it hasn’t been on the ground long enough to pick up contaminants is simply not true.
Think about where all those shoes and boots have been before reaching your kitchen floor or family room carpeting! When you look at it from that point of view, you’ll throw out anything that falls on the floor. And that’s a health plus!
While it’s hard to avoid all sources of food borne illness, an easy way to minimize the risk is by ignoring such silly advice. Switch that 5-second rule to a No-Second rule!