Food that is probably okay to eat off the floor

We’ve all been there: you’re in the kitchen fixing yourself a snack or finally settling down to eat, and some (or all) of it falls onto the floor. 

What to do? Do we sigh, pick it up, and throw it out, cursing our incompetence? Do we eat it as long as it hasn’t been on the floor for more than five seconds? 

Well, as National Geographic points out, the five-second rule is essentially bunk – once something makes contact with the ground, one second might as well be thirty – but do certain foods do better when dropped on the floor than others? The answer is yes: if a food is wet and sticky it’ll collect more bacteria than something that isn’t, and carpet tends to transmit fewer bacteria than hardwood or tile floors. 

Here are a few foods that when dropped onto a (relatively) clean floor will probably not make you sick. But remember: someone can spend an entire lifetime eating food off of the floor and never get sick, and someone else might get sick the first time they do it.

1. Cookies

Stacked chocolate chip cookies and white plate on wooden table


As long as it’s not one of those moist and sticky cookies, you can just brush it off and eat it; every kid in history has.

2. Crackers


Same deal here: just blow the dust off and go for it.

3. Dry Pasta

different types of raw pasta on a tablecloth


Dry pasta is safe to use after it falls on the floor, especially because it’ll soon be heading into a pot of boiling water.

4. Unsliced Fruit

Jonagold apples in a basket on wooden table against garden background


The outer peels of grapes, apples, plums, and other fruits are intended to be a barrier from the elements, and that’s exactly what they do. If you’re concerned, a quick rinse can’t hurt. 

See more foods where its ok to apply the five-second rule.\

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