|By Greg Williams for Wikipedia|
This was reported recently in the Daily Mail :
To many of us, it is second nature to apply the age-old pseudo-scientific 'three second rule' on such occasions, telling ourselves we're safe if the food hit the floor only momentarily.
The idea that food is not contaminated if it is retrieved quickly has been believed for many years - but there has not been extensive proof that this is the case.Now though, the doubt is out as scientists have finally investigated the theory to discover whether the rule is fact or fiction.
Five food items were tested by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) to see whether the three-second rule could be trusted.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2138777/The-second-rule-fact-fiction-Scientists-reveal-food-dropped-floor-safe-eat.html#ixzz1wSI1dEUG
Then this interesting analysis of science reporting was also published in New Scientist:
This article reveals that the "scientists and researchers" mentioned in the first article was actually a single lab tech with financial support from the cleaning supplies company Vileda.
The article goes on to describe the British reporting as entertainment and relatively honest in describing the claims as slightly dodgy but that as it is spread across the world some info gets lost:
This is one reason why anything you read in papers or online should be taken with a grain of salt unless/until you can find corroboration elsewhere or it is actually from a peer-reviewed paper. We see this a lot with all the "magic bullet/foods" that are published these days. We need periodic reminders to be wary of snake oil salesmen...