Researchers looking into the "five second rule" that says it's OK to continue eating a bit of sausage that fell on the floor as long as you picked it up quickly, have said it's a load of rubbish. As any right-thinking person already knew.
According to a team at Rutgers University in the US, the cross contamination process can begin in under a second -- so you'd have to be pretty hot on the heels of that last delicious bit of pork pie crust in order to be safe.
Professor Donald Schaffner explained: "Transfer of bacteria from surfaces to food appears to be affected most by moisture. Bacteria don’t have legs, they move with the moisture, and the wetter the food, the higher the risk of transfer. Also, longer food contact times usually result in the transfer of more bacteria from each surface to food."
So there is some truth to it, and if you've dropped something dry you might get away with it. But you're still best off putting whatever it was in the bin, especially if any other people saw. [Rutgers]