Published: Wed, July 04, 2018
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Your hand washing technique probably isn't up to standard

Your hand washing technique probably isn't up to standard

Forty-eight million people get foodborne illnesses every year, and many of those cases could be prevented with proper hand washing.

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

363 people were tested in kitchen test facilities in North and SC (remind us never to eat there), and just about all of them failed the minimum cleanliness levels, with numerous members not even bothering to dry there hands after not washing them properly, allowing them to air-dry around the food. According to the CDC, such illnesses affect almost 48 million Americans on an annual basis, resulting in almost 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Some 128,000 are hospitalized, and around 3,000 die. Young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are at greatest risk.

In over 1,000 "attempted handwashing events" the most frequent cleansing error - made around 80 percent of the time - was a failure to wash one's hands long enough with soap, for 20 seconds. The broader study was linked to food preparation habits like thermometer usage. After splitting the volunteers into a "control" and "treatment" group, researchers compared people's cooking behaviour depending on whether they watched an instructional food safety video on how to measure the safe internal temperature of cooked meat.

The USDA study also offered guidelines on how to properly wash your hands before a meal or while preparing food.


The researchers observed that people who had watched the video were significantly more likely than the control group to use a meat thermometer properly while making their turkey burgers.

Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

And Luis Delgadillo with the USDA said drying your hands, versus just shaking them off, is a step that shouldn't be ignored.

But because hand washing is often done hastily, or not at all, it's little surprise that food poisoning is common in the U.S.

The percentage is appalling: 97 percent of people failed to properly clean their hands in the collaborative study by the USDA, RTI International and N.C. State University. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice. If you don't have access to one, air dry your hands before using them. That included E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus.

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