There's no magic force field that holds back germs while you shout "five-second rule!" and scoop up your dropped cured meat. Duh, right? Here's how you can prove it.
In this video, Bethany Brookshire shows you how to set up a legit scientific experiment to compare five-second bologna (AKA devon) to 50-second bologna. You make an incubator, pour agar into petri plates, and analyse your data with the same software used by actual microbiologists. (The full instructions and shopping list are here.)
In the end, it turns out the meat still gets covered in germs, no matter whether you followed the five second rule or even whether you cleaned the floor first. And if you have any doubt about the results, you can try it yourself!