Beer before liquor, never sicker may be a bunch of hogwash, but the five-second rule is apparently pretty legit. According to some microbiologists in Birmingham, England, it is indeed possible to save food from bacteria within 5secs, depending on what type of fine shag carpeting you're working with.
The team at Aston University found that floor type was the real deciding factor in dropped food excavations. While carpeting is a pretty safe haven for lost toast or even pasta, tiles and laminates were the most prone to E. coli and S. aureus infections. The study's leader, Professor Anthony C. Hilton, cautioned that all dropped food carries a bacteria risk, since there's no accounting for which floors are bathed in antiseptics and which are E. coli rave scenes. But the five-second rule holds up in a lab. Go celebrate by eating the Lifesaver you dropped between your couch cushions back in '05.
Kristin Hunt is a food/drink staff writer for Thrillist, and would like to know the microbiologists' ruling on the chips she dropped on the beach. Follow her at @kristin_hunt.