Didn't you think it was a joke? The "five second rule" is something everyone laughs about when food drops to the floor. No one really believes that it's a real "rule," right?
For those of you who grew up in super-sanitary households and may have missed hearing about it, the "five second rule" goes like this: If you drop food on the floor, and you pick it up within five seconds, you can eat it. Any longer and the food is contaminated and you have to throw it out.
In real life most people create their own rules. The most hygienic say: you've got to be kidding. There's no way I'd ever, ever, eat food that touched the floor. People walk there. People whose shoes have been on sidewalks where dogs might have... You get the idea. You know if you're one of these people.
Others are more... flexible. There are many variables to consider. How recently was the floor cleaned? How sticky or permeable is the food item? (An M&M, for example, gets more floor time than a peanut, which gets more than cheese, which gets more than a deviled egg. The cost of the item, the desire for the item, whether there's any more in the fridge, whether anyone is watching, whether the watcher is a family member or a guest... all these factor in along with how many seconds have passed.
For some reason, though Crabby is very concerned about healthy living generally, she is shockingly lax about dropped food. She is much more afraid of carcinogens than germs. She can't see anything bad down there on the kitchen floor, and as far as she's concerned, ignorance is bliss. If she got sick every now and then she might reform her ways, but she doesn't. So Crabby continues with her slovenly habits.
So what does recent research say about the five second rule?
Pretty much what we all expected. There's not a magic "five seconds," but a slice of bread or bologna left on the floor for a full minute has about ten times more bacteria than a slice left on the floor for five seconds. There's not a horribly dangerous level of bacteria on most kitchen floors, but you could, if unlucky, pick up enough salmonella to make you sick--even in five seconds.
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," someone once told Crabby. She should be very strong now indeed.