Every couple of years or so, it transpires that you are washing your hands all wrong. Well, as you’ve probably guessed by this point, you’re probably still doing it wrong – presumably just like everything else in life.
As first spotted by CNN, a new study by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) concluded that a whopping 97 percent of us are failing to properly cleanse our filth-encrusted palms, which makes you wonder just how that 3 percent have so much time on their, well, hands. This is obviously not great, because unclean hands harbor and help spread all kinds of diseases.
The study looked at the hand-washing habits of 383 people in North Carolina. 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.
Anyway, the study, conducted in collaboration with North Carolina State University and the non-profit RTI International, looked at six kitchen test facilities across the state, in both rural and metropolitan locations. Before prepping a meal, a randomized treatment group watched a 3-minute safety video by the USDA, which explained how to cook food to a safe temperature and how to use a food thermometer.
Then, as they engaged in the meal prep – turkey burgers and a chef’s salad, spiked with a harmless tracer bacteria-infecting virus – cameras recorded their behavior.
There’s a lot in the observational study about how the use of a thermometer was more commonplace in the section of the subjects that were shown the video, which is lovely. Everyone’s attention, of course, is on the handwashing element – so what did they find?