Can I eat something that fell on the floor?

You’ve heard of the 5 second rule haven’t you? You know, it’s the timescale within which it’s ok to pick up food from the floor and consume it still. Of course, we’re being a bit silly really because it’s not ok to eat from the floor, or is it?



Children do it all the time don’t they, especially little ones. They’re always dropping stuff on the floor and then picking it up and eating it. Is it ok to do that, or is it harmful? This basically comes down to how clean the floor is. If it’s been a while since the cleaner’s been around (or you’ve been around with the Hoover), dust, dead skin or even hair will be on the floor. Do you want your kids to be eating any of that stuff?


Most fresh produce is ok to pick up off the floor and eat, but only if your grapes, strawberries, tomatoes and blueberries haven’t been cut open to reveal the juicy part. That sugary centre will be a magnet for dust and fluff, so throw it away if it lands on the floor.

Stuff you definitely can’t pick up

Even if you live in a laboratory, you shouldn’t pick up and eat any meat, unless its raw and can be cleaned thoroughly before being cooked. Anything that’s wet or sticky is a no-no for consumption after it’s been on the floor. So leave that hairy banana where it is on the floor.

Rule of thumb

It's really up to you to decide what to eat when you’ve dropped something on the floor because there’s no hard and fast rule, although surely eating off floors in public places is a no-no. If you’re hungry and there’s no other food, cut off any fluffy bits (if you can stomach eating the rest).

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