The Gist: Maria Konnikova on the five-second rule, and Oceanside high school students.

A Skeptical Look at the Notorious “Five-Second Rule”

A Skeptical Look at the Notorious “Five-Second Rule”

A daily news and culture podcast with Mike Pesca.
June 25 2015 4:48 PM

Is the “Five-Second Rule” Baloney?

Scientists have actually studied the commonly held belief that food on the floor is still edible as long as it is rescued quickly. 

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How quickly does bacteria crawl across the floor to leap onto your delicious food?

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Cory Salveson/Flickr.

Listen to Episode 285 of Slate’s The Gist:


Today on The Gist, you will either be happily relieved or totally devastated by what we’ve learned about the “five-second rule.” Mike asks Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker if she’d eat what we’ve dropped in a series we call “Is That Bulls--t?” For the Spiel, Mike speaks with current high school students in Oceanside, New York.


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Mike Pesca is the host of the Slate daily podcast The Gist. He also contributes reports and commentary to NPR.