How many times have you dropped a piece of food on the floor, instantly picked it up, and decided that it was safe to eat because it had been on the ground for less than 5 seconds? This belief is pretty widespread based on previous studies, but this claim is disputed in a new study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
The findings show longer contact times can result in more bacteria transfer, but bacteria can instantly move from a surface to a food and result in illness. Foodborne illness can be serious, with 1 in 6 people getting sick each year. Therefore, any food that falls on the floor should probably be discarded, since it is not worth the risk of getting ill! Additionally, wash all fruits and vegetables, keep your hands clean, and clean up surfaces to avoid cross contamination.