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Elizabeth Petterssen & Jessica Vargason '11

The truth behind the five second rule

The five-second rule, made famous by the Oreo cookie commercial, was introduced by high school student Jillian Clarke. The rule states that food is not contaminated with bacteria, and therefore is safe to eat, if picked up within five seconds of being dropped. A series of experiments were conducted to determine factors that may affect bacterial growth and the truth behind the five-second rule: a) types of food (dry vs. moist) b) contact surfaces (from stainless steel to carpet) c) time of day (opening to close) d) temperature (warm food areas vs. cold food areas) e) duration (length of exposure on surface.

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The truth behind the five second rule

Research Advisor: Amy Olson, PhD, RDN, LD