Eating off the floor is just plain disgusting, says Marina Mayer, managing editor, but now a study reports that many people are doing it.

As a kid, we all were taught some old wives’ tales. Like, don’t swallow your gum, or you’ll grow a gum tree in your belly. Eat your tomatoes, or your eyeballs will fall out. Don’t step on the sidewalk crack, or you’ll break your mother’s back.
    My personal favorite is the five-second rule – if you drop your food on the floor, you have five seconds to pick it up to eat before it’s considered “dirty.”
    According to a survey titled, What America Eats, conducted by Insight Express, Stamford, Conn., for thePARADE magazine, some Americans not only adhere to the five-second rule, but they also make this lore an actual reality.
The study polled Americans’ food shopping, preparation and eating habits. It reported that more than 70% of those surveyed always wash fruits and vegetables, but, surprisingly, more than 53% admitted to eating bits of hamburger, hot dog, pizza and pretzels after dropping on the floor, as long as it was within the five-second rule.
    Time out.
People will take the time to wash certain foods, sometimes even before cooking (which will eventually kill off bacteria anyways), but have no problem eating off the floor?
    In today’s age when consumers are conditioned into eating foods that are natural, organic, gluten-free or low in sodium, how is eating off the floor remotely okay?
    So, I admit, I may be a slight germophobe. I aim to drink from a straw when eating in public places versus sipping out of the glass. I try not to use pens in doctors’ offices, and don’t even get me started on used Kleenexes lingering on desks, tables, the floor or basically anywhere but the garbage.
    Yes, exposing your body to germs can be a surefire way to fight off disease and illness because exposure to them builds immunity, but eating off the floor is a bit of a stretch for me.
    It’s like grabbing nuts out of a bowl in a bar – nuts that have probably been tossed around the bowl by gazillions of patrons (enter scene from Along Came Polly here).
    Then there’s double dipping. Why is this necessary? Nobody wants to eat a backwash of someone else’s spit in the ranch-dressing bowl.
    For those of you who practice the five-second rule, enjoy! It seems like you’re not alone.

Marina Mayer, managing editor