Five-second food rule should be scrapped | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

It may be better to throw away that bit of food if it falls. Salvaging it may cost you so much more in medical bills

MOST of us have probably heard of or know the five-second rule: It is all right to eat food that fell to the floor, as long as you do not let it stay there for more than five seconds.

But a new study says the five-second rule may actually result in an expense we do not want or need: medical bills.

Best selling author Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, writing for Care2 Healthy Living, reports that scientists at Rutgers University have found that microbes can “invade” our food in less than five seconds. The research is published in the medical journal “Applied and Environmental Microbiology.”

The scientists, led by professor Donald Schaffner, said that bacteria can contaminate food instantaneously. Food with a higher level of moisture gets the worst level of contamination.

The scientists, to assess if harmful bacteria can transfer from the floor to food in five seconds or less, used four different surfaces: wood, stainless steel, ceramic tile and carpet. The surfaces were contaminated with a type of bacteria known as Enterobacter aerogenes, a cousin of salmonella, a major cause of food-borne illness.

The scientists tested the following on each of the surfaces: watermelon, bread, bread with butter and gummy candies. They assessed contamination in four different contact times: one second, five seconds, 30 seconds and 300 seconds.

Cook revealed the results: “While food can be contaminated on impact with the floor, the longer it sits there the worse the contamination levels get.” Watermelon, which had the highest level of moisture, also had the highest amount of contamination. Gummy candies had the lowest.

Statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization show that every year, 700,000 people die from food- and water-borne diseases in the Asia-Pacific region including the Philippines.

So, even if you hate to waste something that still seems edible, it’s best to throw it away. Eating it may be dangerous to your health.

This may also be a good time to remind ourselves of the symptoms of food-borne illness or food poisoning, as the Christmas season approaches.

The most common symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea, which typically last one to seven days. Other symptoms include abdominal cramps, nausea, fever, joint aches and fatigue.

Family values

Isla Petroleum & Gas Corp. (IPG), maker of LPG brand Solane, has launched an advocacy campaign to remind consumers of the importance of family and positive Filipino values.

The campaign stresses the need to do the right thing, for the family, for others and for society. It also aims to bring back traditional Filipino values like commitment to the family, honesty, hard work, respect for others and integrity.

Isla LPG chief executive officer Ruben Domingo says the new campaign seeks to remind the company’s clients, employees and business partners of the need to do the right thing in everything they do, all the time and everywhere.

Domingo assures its customers that Solane will continue to provide them high-quality, safe and reliable LPG products. He says customer safety is the company’s key priority.

Domingo says the Solane Hatid Bahay rider not only ensures that LPG delivery is safe and on time, but also performs the seven-point safety check, free of charge in the customer’s home.

The rider also conducts a weight check-in front of customers to assure them that they’re getting value for money.

Isla LPG also holds regular safety seminars for customers and communities.

Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail

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