A Dagwood Sandwich before falling on floor
I , EncycloPetey via Wikimedia Commons
Weirdly enough, there have actually been studies done to test whether the 5 second rule is true or not; whether you can safely eat something dropped to the ground if done within that time frame. And now, in response to a recent question, Dr. Weil himself explores this topic by discussing some details of a 2007 study done at Clemson University. A few years ago, NYT also looked at this study with similar detail and determined that the sooner you pick up food fallen on the floor, the less bacteria you ingest, but there's no guarantee it won't make you sick. I guess that's somewhat comforting, though still not appealing to me. And other studies suggest it's simply baloney to think you can escape the bugs within 5 seconds, that the real issue is where you drop your food.
(Now, why is it always bologna sandwiches that fall on the floor?!)