And past research from Rutgers University seemed to effectively put the long-standing myth to rest by concluding that the transfer of bacteria from floor to food could be nearly instantaneous.
However, a new study from Aston University in Birmingham, England, shows that some foods can actually last for 30 minutes on the floor before bacteria starts to form.
Now, I’m not saying you should grind all your food into the floor and then eat it, but if you drop a hard, dry food, such as a cookie, biscuit, dry toast, or sandwich, on the floor and pick it up within a half hour, you’re in the clear.
The rule also doesn’t apply to “damp” or “sticky” foods, such as cooked pasta or gummy candy, which aligns with the results of past research.
The latest study found that those kinds of foods started picking up bacteria after five seconds, so your best bet in that case is toss anything you drop on the floor.