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忘记“五秒钟定律”吧,落地的食物不能吃

更新时间:2016-10-7 9:55:39 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

‘Five-Second Rule’ for Food on Floor Is Untrue, Study Finds
忘记“五秒钟定律”吧,落地的食物不能吃

You may think your floors are so clean you can eat off them, but a new study debunking the so-called five-second rule would suggest otherwise.

你可能觉得自家地板非常干净,食物掉在上面也能捡起来吃,但是一项新研究驳斥了所谓的“五秒钟定律”,表明食物掉在地上就不能吃了。

Professor Donald W. Schaffner, a food microbiologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, said a two-year study he led concluded that no matter how fast you pick up food that falls on the floor, you will pick up bacteria with it.

新泽西州罗格斯大学的食品微生物学家唐纳德·W·沙夫纳(Donald W. Schaffner)教授说,他主导的一项为期两年的研究得出结论,不管你以多快的速度捡起掉在地上的食物,上面肯定会粘上细菌。

The findings in the report — “Is the Five-Second Rule Real?” — appeared online this month in the American Society for Microbiology’s journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

该研究报告题为《五秒钟定律是真的吗?》(Is the Five-Second Rule Real?),本月发表在美国微生物学会的期刊《应用与环境微生物学》(Applied and Environmental Microbiology)的网站上。

Researchers at Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences in England reported in 2014 that food picked up a few seconds after being dropped is “less likely to contain bacteria than if it is left for longer periods of time,” giving rise to news accounts suggesting that eating the food might be harmless. Those findings, and research done at the University of Illinois in 2003, did not appear in a peer-reviewed journal, Professor Schaffner noted.

2014年的时候,英格兰的阿斯顿大学生命与健康科学学院的研究者们称,食物掉在地上几秒钟内就捡起来“比长时间留在地上沾染细菌的可能性要小”,之后有大量新闻报道称,吃下这种马上捡起来的食物可能是无害的。沙夫纳教授指出,这些发现,以及2003年伊利诺斯大学所做的一项研究,并没有出现在任何一本有同行评审的学术期刊中。

Even though the five-second rule is a bit of folklore, it still raised important public health issues that demanded closer scrutiny, he said. He cited research by the Centers for Disease Control, which found that surface cross-contamination was the sixth most common contributing factor out of 32 in outbreaks of food-borne illnesses.

他说,尽管“五秒钟定律”有点像似是而非的民间看法,但它还是会引发重要的公共健康问题,值得认真研究。他引用疾病控制中心的数据称, 导致食源性疾病爆发的32种方式中,表面接触导致的交叉污染位列第六大常见方式。

HOW WAS THE STUDY CONDUCTED?

这项研究是如何进行的?

Professor Schaffner and a master’s thesis student, Robyn C. Miranda, tested four surfaces — stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood and carpet — and four different foods: cut watermelon, bread, buttered bread and strawberry gummy candy. They were dropped from a height of five inches onto surfaces treated with a bacterium with characteristics similar to salmonella.

沙夫纳教授和他指导的硕士论文学生罗宾·C·米兰达(Robyn C. Miranda)测试了四种表面:不锈钢、瓷砖、木头和地毯;并测试了四种食物:切开的西瓜、面包、涂了黄油的面包和草莓味橡皮糖。他们把这些食物从距离地面五英寸的地方扔到受测试的表面上,这些表面上都有一种与沙门菌非常类似的细菌。

The researchers tested four contact times — less than one second and five, 30 and 300 seconds. A total of 128 possible combinations of surface, food and seconds were replicated 20 times each, yielding 2,560 measurements.

研究者们还测试了四种接触时长:不足一秒钟、5秒、30秒和300秒。共计128种表面质材、食品与时长的组合方式,每种组合方式各自重复进行20次实验,一共产生了2560项测试结果。

WHAT DID THE STUDY FIND?

研究发现了什么?

The research found that the five-second rule has some validity in that longer contact times resulted in transfer of more bacteria. But no fallen food escaped contamination completely. “Bacteria can contaminate instantaneously,” Professor Schaffner said in a news release.

这项研究发现,五秒钟定律有一定道理,食物同表面接触时间越长,沾染的细菌就会越多。但是落在地上的食物根本无法避免污染。“细菌可以瞬时造成污染,”一篇新闻通稿引用沙夫纳教授的话说。

Carpet had a very low rate of transmission of bacteria compared with tile and stainless steel; transfer rates from wood varied.

和瓷砖与不锈钢相比,地毯传播细菌的比例要低得多;木质表面的传播率变化不一。

The composition of the food and the surface on which it falls matter as much if not more than the length of time it remains on the floor, the study found. Watermelon, with its moisture, drew the highest rate of contamination and the gummy candy the least.

这项研究发现,在细菌污染方面,食品与地面质材的组合与食品接触地面的时长几乎同等重要。比如西瓜因为潮湿,污染率最高,橡皮糖污染率最低。

In an interview, Professor Schaffner said, “I will tell you on the record that I’ve eaten food off the floor.” He quickly added: “If I were to drop a piece of watermelon on my relatively clean kitchen floor, I’m telling you, man, it’s going in the compost.”

在一个采访中,沙夫纳教授说:“我要正式告诉你,我吃过从地上捡起来的食物。”他很快补又充说:“如果我把一块西瓜掉在相对比较干净的厨房地板上,我得告诉你,我会拿它去当肥料的。”

WHERE DID THE RULE GET ITS START?

这项定律是怎么开始的?

The history of the five-second rule is difficult to trace but it is attributed apocryphally to Genghis Khan, who declared that food could be on the ground for five hours and still be safe to eat, Professor Schaffner said.

沙夫纳教授说,“五秒钟定律”的起源难以追溯,但是根据不怎么可靠的传言,它来自成吉思汗,他说食品在地上放五个小时仍然可以安全食用。

WHY DO PEOPLE DO THIS ANYWAY?

人们到底为什么要这样?

William K. Hallman, an experimental psychologist and a professor at the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers University, said people do not put every decision through a risk-benefit filter and instead rely on cognitive shortcuts called heuristics to help in their daily lives.

实验心理学家、罗格斯大学人类生态学系教授威廉·K·霍尔曼(William K. Hallman) 说,在日常生活中,人们并不是在做决定时都会做风险-收益评估,而是依靠一种名为“捷思法”(heuristics)的认知捷径。

“It’s a way of making a very quick decision with whatever data is available,” he said in an interview.

“这是一种利用手头各种信息快速做出决定的方法,”他在一个采访中说。

But sometimes those shortcuts can be based on flawed assumptions or missing information.

但有时候,这些捷径有可能是建立在有缺陷的假设或是信息缺失基础上的。

For instance, germs are invisible and so they are easy to ignore when “something of particular value, like a yellow peanut M&M” falls to the floor, he said. Because germs are out of sight, the belief is there is no harm in picking up the M&M and popping it in your mouth.

比如说,人们肉眼看不到细菌,所以它们就很容易被忽略,特别是“有特殊价值的东西,比如一颗黄色的M&M花生巧克力豆”掉在地板上的时候,他说道。因为细菌是看不见的,人们就相信把巧克力豆捡起来放进嘴里完全没有坏处。

Douglas Powell, a former professor of food safety and the publisher of barfblog.com about food safety, added that people eat from the floor because they are told not to waste food.

前食品安全教授与食品安全网站barfblog.com的出版人道格拉斯·鲍威尔(Douglas Powell)补充说,人们从地上捡起食物吃,也是因为他们受到的教育说不要浪费。

People are also impervious to risk. “I’ve done this all my life and never gotten sick; I did this a couple of days ago and nothing happened,” he said in an email.

人们通常不在乎风险。“我这辈子都这么干,从来也没生过病;前几天我还这么干过呢,结果什么事也没有,”他在电子邮件中写道。

Or as Professor Schaffner observed: “The first kid, the pacifier falls on the floor, oh my God, we have to sterilize it. By the third kid, it’s like ‘whatever.’ ”

又或者如沙夫纳教授观察到的:“养第一个孩子的时候,他的安抚奶嘴掉在地下了,天哪,得给它消毒。到了养第三个孩子的时候,你就会觉得‘无所谓’。”

SHOULDN’T PEOPLE KNOW BETTER THAN TO EAT OFF THE FLOOR?

人们不是应该明白不该从地上捡东西吃吗?

Research has shown that people think germs belong to other people, Professor Hallman said. For instance, people generally believe their bathrooms are cleaner than a public restroom. In fact, that is not the case because public restrooms are cleaned more regularly, he said in an interview.

霍尔曼教授说,研究表明,人们都觉得细菌和自己没什么关系。比如说,人们通常都觉得自家的厕所比公共厕所干净。他在接受采访的时候表示,事实上,公共厕所更经常做清洁,所以完全不是这么回事。

People also misunderstand the transmission of germs.

此外人们对细菌的传播也有误解。

“We sort of joke about the five-second rule, but people act as if germs take some period of time to race to the item that fell on the floor,” he said.

“我们是在拿五秒钟定律开玩笑,但人们好像觉得细菌需要一段时间才能跑到掉下来的东西上似的,”他说。

People also do not recognize the symptoms of food-borne illnesses and tend to blame them on the last thing they ate, so they do not connect how their earlier actions might have made them sick.

人们不了解通食源性疾病有什么症状,往往是埋怨最后吃下的东西让他们吃坏了,所以不会想到导致自己生病的可能是更早之前的食物。

ARE MEN MORE LIKELY TO EAT OFF THE FLOOR THAN WOMEN?

Yes, according to Professor Hallman. In contrast to women, men say they more frequently engage in behaviors such as picking up food or a fork that has fallen to the floor, or picking an insect or a hair out of their food then continuing to eat, he said. The findings came from a phone survey of 1,000 Americans in 2005.

Anthony Hilton, a professor of microbiology at Aston University, said a survey of nearly 500 people found 81 percent of women said they followed the rule — they would not eat anything that lingered on the floor — compared with 64 percent of men, the magazine “Scientific American” reported.

“Hilton says he doesn’t have a good explanation for this gender differentiation but points out that this finding is consistent with other research into the five-second rule,” the magazine wrote. “One possible conclusion: This is tacit confirmation of another piece of folk wisdom — men are less discerning when it comes to their food’s cleanliness.”

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