We’ve all heard of the five-second food rule, right? Something falls on the floor and if you pick it up quickly enough, you can still eat it. Two new studies took a look at this thinking.

At Clemson University, researchers looked at just how many germs can survive on food after five seconds. They used bologna sandwiches and salmonella. Yum. A second study, from Connecticut College, looked at whether you could extend the five second rule to, say, a minute, for dry foods that aren’t sticky.

I love this. Who funds these studies? Who fills out the paperwork to ask for the funds for these studies?

I recently visited my sister in New York. I was making lunch for our kids and took out a bag of grapes. I started plopping bunches of grapes onto plates when my sister looked over my shoulder. “Did you wash those yet?” she asked. I hadn’t, so I dutifully ran some water over them. I don’t always wash fruits and veggies, even though I know I”m supposed to. I’ve even considered buying one of those little produce brushes, but it always strikes me as ridiculous.

I do sometimes feel a little guilty – how much dirt do my kids ingest from the few veggies I can actually get them to eat? And then I remember – my kids love to eat off the floor.

We were at the airport last week – Benny & I were waiting outside while Lea & Slade got the car. I was giving Benny a snack- I think it was Cheez-Its or something equally healthy. He dropped a few on the floor and went to pick them up. I said, “No! Gross!” and he just smiled and said, “Gross! Yum!” and put the Cheez-It in his mouth.

Then he started stomping on the crackers. I liked that – at least he wouldn’t eat the crumbs. Then he climbed up onto the bench we were sitting on and.. found some gum stuck to the side. He started to check it out as two year olds do. That means he started touching it. Are you kidding me?? Then he couldn’t understand why I didn’t want him to go anywhere near it. Eeew.

My daughter is much better. She at least knows you blow on food that falls on the floor before you eat it.

So those five-second rule studies? Here’s the write up of the Clemson University study. That’s the one that says bread and bologna dropped on tile, wood and carpet is contaminated by salmonella after just five seconds.

The other study, from Connecticut College, says you actually have more time, as long as your food isn’t sticky. They used Skittles candy in this study, so their definition of “food” is already suspect.

Maybe that’s the key to all this. Knowing what’s in bologna and Skittles you have to wonder – does dropping them on the floor really make them that much worse for you?