Thursday, January 27, 2011

Food for thought

I am by no means a germ-o-phobe.  I actually believe that exposure to bacteria helps you build resistance to them.  However, I don’t follow the five-second rule.  You know the rule . . .  if food falls on the ground, its okay to eat it as long as it is picked up within five seconds.

Uhm . . . I don’t think so.  Ew.

It’s not *MY* rule and I don’t follow it.  I pretty much have to beat my husband off with a baseball bat to keep him from doing it.

I have my reasons but they’re probably not what you imagine them to be . . .  hold that thought. 


There have been real, honest-to-goodness scientific research done on this.    Yups, your tax dollars at work.

Surveys show that 96% of men and 13% of women were familiar with the five-second rule and many follow it.  Though it often depends on the food dropped; people are more likely to pick up a cookie as opposed to a carrot.

Depending on the surface type and environment . . . porous vs. impervious and humidity vs. dry . . .  bacteria can live for days or weeks or even months.  MONTHS, I say.

Microbes are everywhere around us, not just on floors. They thrive in wet kitchen sponges and end up on freshly wiped countertops.

One study shows that a bologna sandwich left on previously contaminated countertops picked up 150 to 8,000 bacteria within five seconds.  Left for a full minute, they collected about 10 times more.  Generally speaking, your floor or countertop at home will contain only a thousandth the number of bacteria applied by researchers but food dropped on them will still be likely to pick up several bacteria.  That may not seem like a whole lot in the grand scheme of things but think about this . . . the infectious dose, the smallest number of bacteria that can actually cause illness, is as few as 10 for some salmonellas, fewer than 100 for the deadly strain of E. coli.

If you removed a sandwich from its protective plastic sleeve and put it down repeatedly on the sleeve’s outer surface, which was meant to protect the sandwich by blocking microbes. What’s on the outer surface?

Some food types pick up more bacteria than others.  Wet or sticky foods like a lolly-pop obviously pick up more bacteria than, say, a pretzel.  And that wet and sticky food is also picking up other filth, like hair and lord knows what else. 

Other studies have determined that outside surfaces like sidewalks and pavement are cleaner than the kitchen floor in terms of the types of germs that cause illnesses.  Kitchen floors are more likely to contain harmful bacteria from uncooked foods and wet mops than a sidewalk.


So, why is it that *I* won’t pick up food off the floor and eat it . . . even if it’s less than five seconds?  The cat.  Assuming I could get to a dropped morsel before she could, all I picture is her little princess paws with their little jelly beans of death pawing around in the litter box . . . poopies, piddles . . . then traipsing all over the house.  Ew!
What's your own personal dropped food rule?


Sweet and Spicy Crockpot Lamb Shank

  • 1 Piece Roasting Lamb
  • 1 Cup Grape Jelly
  • 1 Tbls Ketchup
  • 1 Tbls Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbls Balsamic Vinigar
  • 1 Tsp Grated Ginger
  • 1 Tsp Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1 Tbls Hot Pepper Flakes

Score the meat well to allow the flavor to get in.  Put the meat in the crock pot.

Combine all the other ingredients and pour over the meat.

Cook on low for about 8 hours (or probably about 4 hours on high).

Remove the meat from the crockpot and keep warm.  

Whisk in corn starch or very fine flour mixed with water to thicken up the sauce.  As the sauce thickens the oil will come to the surface.  Pour any oil off and use the sauce with the meat.  

1 comment:

  1. OMG! I am so rethinking the whole 5 second rule. Not even a 1 second rule. My mom just sent me this as I recently moved into a new place, had to buy bottles upon bottles of easy off to clean my floors and then thought, wow the previous owners must of did the 5 second rule. DISGUSTING!

    Never, ever again. Recipe looks great by the way!