Published: Fri, July 06, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

You're probably washing your hands wrong, study says

You're probably washing your hands wrong, study says

A new study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that when it comes to handwashing before meals, consumers are failing to properly clean their hands 97 percent of the time. This is the desired amount of time which has been recommended or set by the CDC, which states less germs are washed off if one washes his/her hand for a shorter period of time.

The government study brought 383 people into six test kitchens in North Carolina, some located in the Raleigh-Durham metro area and others in the more rural area of Smithfield, and asked them to prepare turkey burgers and a chef's salad.

During the meal preparation, there were several points where the participants should have stopped to wash their hands, but they only did so about a third of the time.

Poor hand-washing practices led to cross-contamination, the study found.

People are failing to clean their hands properly 97% of the time before meals and it is leading to bacterial cross-contamination in the kitchen, according to a U.S. study.

You're not washing your hands correctly.

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"As a mother of three young children, I am very familiar with the mad dash families go through to put dinner on the table", said Carmen Rottenberg, acting deputy undersecretary for food safety at the USDA.

The results from the USDA's study indicate our hand-washing habits may be getting worse.

Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling raw meat, poultry or eggs. At this stage, we don't know whether certain states are better at scrubbing their hands than those in the now-shamed Tar Heel State, but we'll assume science'll get right on that. Be sure to lather the backs of hands, between fingers, and under fingernails. That included E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus, often referred to as "staph".

More information about this study is available in an executive summary.

As USA Today noted, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that 48 millions of Americans receive foodborne illnesses each year. That results in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.

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