The 3-Second Rule Is Legit

Shannon Farrell
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It’s another weekday morning. You’re racing around, because you can’t be late to work one more day this week. Purse, check. Coffee, check. Granola bar, check. Whoops, it falls to the floor. Okay, 3-second rule. You scoop it up, and you’re out the door.

Eating food off the floor sounds so gross, but seriously, who hasn’t done it? The 3-second rule has become a part of our culture, but the truth is, it has never been proven a sanitary thing to do. Until now.

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A study done by Manchester Metropolitan University found that certain foods do not pick up bacteria when they hit the floor. The key factor in whether items will grow bacteria after being exposed for three seconds depends on their water activity levels.

Foods with high salt or sugar content, such as processed foods, have less chance of the harmful bacteria growing. However, dried fruit and cooked pasta did not fair as well in the test. After only three seconds, a bacteria called klebsiella started to grow. This bacteria can cause pneumonia, urinary tract infections and soft tissue conditions.

So this seems to be a double-edged sword. You can live by the 3-second rule…but you have to eat processed foods with high sugar and salt levels.

Does this make you more or less likely to practice the 3-second rule?

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