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Study Suggests Restaurant Workers Aren't Washing Their Hands Correctly

As in, 97 percent of them
How to Wash Hands Properly
Photo: MyLoupe / Getty Images

Washing your hands: a life skill that ranks pretty high up there alongside riding a bike. But according to a new study, it might be time for all of us to put the training wheels back on—especially if you work in a restaurant.

According to CNN, a new experiment conducted by the USDA looking at 383 participants in six test kitchen facilities found that 97 percent of the time, restaurant workers are still not washing their hands up to the CDC's standards.

Aside from exposing an unsettling number of people who don't even dry their hands post-washing (not the most comforting idea to think about if you're eating out at a restaurant), the study found that half its participants, after preparing burgers, were able to spread bacteria to objects, like spice containers. Other everyday surfaces, like refrigerator door handles, were exposed to bacteria 11 percent of the time.

And, as Gizmodo notes, the way we wash our hands is one that's only continued to worsen: A study conducted by Michigan State University in 2013 found that only 5 percent of people were washing their hands correctly, which is actually twice the success rate of the USDA's findings. 

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"You can't see, smell or feel bacteria," Carmen Rottenberg, deputy undersecretary for food safety at the USDA, says. "By simply washing your hands properly, you can protect your family and prevent that bacteria from contaminating your food and key areas in your kitchen."

Give yourself a hand-washing refresher with the CDC's guide.

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