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Volume III
December 28, 2012

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

That '5-Second Rule' Debunked
and a Tool to Handle the Truth!

By Alice Osborne

If you drop food on the floor and pick it up within five seconds, it's safe to eat. Right? Research showed 50% of men and 70% of women think so.

And some people use a three-second rule. The truth, though, is that bacteria latch onto food almost immediately, and according to the experts (scientists, doctors, people that want to scare us), there's plenty of bacteria waiting to hitch a ride on our freshly dropped food. Even if our floors look squeaky clean, (oooh, I hate to report this), a University of Arizona study says about 90% of shoes are contaminated with fecal matter after three months of wear. So the happy news is that we're spreading bacteria wherever we walk.

The researchers say bacteria are everywhere, and it only takes about 10 bacteria of some strains of salmonella to make people terribly sick. Now to the point for us avid cooks and food-lovers: We've got an abundance of bacteria on our kitchen counters (and everywhere else, for that matter). The truly amazing news in all this is that the human immune system manages to fight off harmful bacteria most of the time.

But isn't it easy to dismiss what we can't see (a line of 1,000 could fit across a pencil eraser)? Still, thinking about that fecal matter on my shoes makes me want to reconsider that five-second rule!

OK, so besides reconsidering what used to be a comforting belief, let's get even more proactive and increase our diligence with the disinfecting of our counters, cutting boards, appliance handles (fridge, oven, microwave, etc.), and maybe even the door knobs around the house. I've talked about GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract) before, but let's talk about it again:

GSE (Citricidal is the brand I use) in its diluted form can be used as an all-purpose household cleaner. Add 15 to 30 drops to a 32 oz. spray bottle and use on all surfaces. I add a few drops of peppermint and tea tree oil for added disinfectant power and to create a pleasant fragrance. Kitchen utensils and refrigerator surfaces are great to clean with GSE. Scrub in 15 to 20 drops of GSE directly on your cutting board, leave it for a half hour and then rinse thoroughly and allow to dry.

You can use it as a fruit and vegetable wash to rid the skins of potential pathogens and pesticides. GSE is a nontoxic way to clean your toothbrush by soaking it in a few drops of diluted GSE for up to 15 minutes. Bring GSE camping as a biodegradable way to clean dishes.

It's non-toxic - I add 10 drops, undiluted, to my green smoothies and take 10 drops with my lemon-flavored cod liver oil each night - it's that safe. And that's the point - you're getting powerful disinfecting that is safe for everyone in the home! I've tossed out all my commercial cleaners and clean everything with this product now. And a bottle lasts several months! With the truth of the 5-second rule now out in the open, you can bet I'm redoubling my cleany-clean efforts and GSE is just the weapon of choice!


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