What to Read Next

The truth about the ‘five-second rule’

Caitlin McCormack
Shine On
May 23, 2012
woman eating popcorn on the floor
woman eating popcorn on the floor

If you've ever used the infamous 'five-second rule' to justify nibbling that last morsel of delicousness you accidentally dropped on the floor, you might want to hold on to your stomachs.

As the folks over at Today.com found, most foods don't in fact stand up to the urban legend that says foods on the floor for five seconds or less are safe to eat, as they won't have picked up germs in that short time.

As the Huffington Post reports, researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University examined cooked pasta, ham, a biscuit, bread with jam and dried fruit that had been dropped on the floor for varying lengths of time.

They found foods with higher salt or sugar content are less likely to pick up bacteria.

[See also: Immune-boosting myths, busted]

"Both the ham, a salty product, and the sugary bread and jam fared well in the test. When retrieved from the floor within three seconds, the foodstuffs showed little sign of bacterial growth," reported The Daily Mail.

"The dried fruit and cooked pasta, on the other hand, showed signs of klebsiella after three seconds — a  bacteria which can potentially lead to a wide range of diseases such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, septicaemia and soft tissue conditions."

The folks from Mythbusters even put this myth to the test, finding that foods do in fact pick up germs off the floor no matter how long they were left there.

I don't think I'd eat dropped ham or jam off the floor, but I do remember the good ol' days of excursion camp, where you'd eat anything even if it fell in the dirt — because that was the only food you'd packed for 10 days and you needed the calories.

Don't forget that when it comes to food safety you shouldn't take chances, especially if you're young, elderly, immuno-compromised or pregnant. As the old adage goes, 'when in doubt, throw it out.'

Do you follow the 'five-second rule'? Will this research change your mind about it?

See more common health myths debunked in the video below.

More from Shine on Yahoo! Canada

Don't get ill from your grill
How to pick and prepare the perfect steak
What not to eat when getting sick

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

Read This Before You Buy Medigap Plan F

Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

How to Create a Social Support Strategy

Meet your customers where they are. Read this e-book from Desk.com to learn six things to consider as you plan your social support strategy.

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

How To Make Sagging Skin Look Tight and Lifted

[Watch] The easy and effective way consumers across the country are improving the look of their wrinkled and sagging skin without cosmetic procedures.

Get Enchanted With This Magical Disney Movie Deal!

Get 4 Disney Movies For $1 With Membership. See Details. Exclusive Titles, Merchandise, Offers & Discounts. Plus, Free Shipping On Your Initial Order!

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Hilton HHonors™ Card

Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points. Apply for Your Card Today.

Turn ordinary roads into extraordinary adventures.

No matter the destination, excitement never takes a backseat in the versatile and capable Nissan Rogue.

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

$200 Military Flashlight Surplus Dumped

Highly anticipated LumiTact G700 Tactical Flashlight Overrun - Now available to civilian population

Success is in Your Hands

A great career as a motorcycle technician is within reach. Click here to learn more.

Consolidate your Student Loans by Refinancing

Refinance your student loans to a lower rate with SoFi. Find out how much you can save!

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.