13/03/2014 07:48 GMT | Updated 13/03/2014 07:59 GMT

The Five Second Rule - Why There May Be Some Truth In It

Next time you drop a piece of chocolate on the floor, just pick it up and keep on eating - as if nothing ever happened.

If anyone dares to question your antics, feel free to quote The Five Second Rule - which we're proud to announce has now been proven by science.

Yes there may be some truth in the urban legend, that food picked up within five seconds after being dropped on the floor is safe to eat.

food floor

Quick, pick it up!

To check the authenticity of this claim, researchers measured the transfer of common bacteria, such as E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus, to foods (including pasta and a sticky sweet) that had been dropped on different types of flooring (including carpet and laminate flooring).

The researchers varied contact time between 3 and 30 seconds, finding that a positive correlation between the length of time the food spent on the floor and the amount of bacteria.

"Consuming food dropped on the floor still carries an infection risk as it very much depends on which bacteria are present on the floor at the time but the findings of this study will bring some light relief to those who have been employing the 5-second rule for years, despite a general consensus that it is purely a myth," Anthony Hilton, a professor of microbiology at Aston University in England, said in a statement.

"We have found evidence that transfer from indoor flooring surfaces is incredibly poor with carpet actually posing the lowest risk of bacterial transfer onto dropped food."