Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The Truth About the 'Five-second' Rule

Rutgers University researchers have disproven the widely accepted notion that it’s okay to pick up food and eat it within a “safe” five second window. Donald Schaffner, professor and extension specialist in food science at Rutgers University, found that moisture, type of surface, and contact time all contribute to cross-contamination. In some instances, the transfer begins in less than one second.

“The five-second rule is a significant oversimplification of what actually happens when bacteria transfer from a surface to food,” Schaffner said. “Bacteria can contaminate instantaneously.”

Read more at Rutgers University.

Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.

Farm Bill Priority Areas
Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health
U.S. States and Territories
New Jersey
Website Survey CTA Image Desktop

Your feedback is important to us.