The so-called ‘five-second’ rule for dropped food is correct, according to scientists.
A survey of 2,000 people found a whopping 79% of us admit to eating food that has fallen on the floor.
And while for many years we have hoped this is safe, science has now confirmed it almost always is.
Germ expert Professor Anthony Hilton, from Aston University, said: “Eating food that has spent a few moments on the floor can never be entirely risk-free.
“Obviously, food covered in visible dirt shouldn’t be eaten, but as long as it’s not obviously contaminated, the science shows that food is unlikely to have picked up harmful bacteria from a few seconds spent on an indoor floor.
“That is not to say that germs can’t transfer from the floor to the food.
“Our research has shown that the nature of the floor surface, the type of food dropped on the floor and the length of time it spends on the floor can all have an impact on the number that can transfer.”
Carpets, perhaps surprisingly, are the most risk-free surface when it comes to the transfer of bacteria from floor to food.
Tiles and laminate floors carry greater risks, the study showed.
Prof Hilton demonstrated the science behind the ‘five-second rule’ at The Big Bang Fair – a a celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people in Birmingham.
The findings come from a 2014 study, led by Prof Hilton, that looked at how many staph and E.coli bacteria were picked up by toast, pasta, biscuits and sticky sweets between three and 30 seconds on the floor.