LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

We've all been there, a piece of food drops on the floor just as you're about to take a bite.

But how long should it sit on the floor before it's not safe to eat?

A new study finds that there is some science behind the urban myth called 'the 5 second rule.'

The study looked at how long it takes for bacteria to transfer from the floor to your food after hitting the ground.

Researchers found that food picked up a few seconds after being dropped is actually less likely to contain bacteria than if it's left for longer periods of time.

How do you know what's OK to eat and what's not?

Doctors say it's all up to personal opinion."Is it OK to drop it on the countertop but not on the floor? What things are OK verses not OK? I think each of us has to apply a bit of common sense when it comes to bacteria and germs that are in the environment," said Gundersen Health Infection Control Specialist Bridget Pfaff.

The study also found 87% of people surveyed said they would or already have eaten food dropped on the floor. 55% of those who admitted that are women. More than 80% of them say they do follow the 5 second rule.