Research confirms that we make mistakes when washing hands during cooking facilitate the spread of foodborne diseases
As you well know, hands allow us to understand the world around us, through them we can caress the people we love, recognize textures, cook, eat, play, etc.
Through touch we incorporate information and substances from the environment, both positive and negative, a clear example of which are pathogens and toxic substances. That is why we must take special care with their hygiene .
A recent study conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) ensures that a very high percentage of the US population washes their hands incorrectly before eating, a practice that causes the spread of diseasesthrough different surfaces and the food.
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The work emphasizes that 97 percent of the time people make key mistakes during the wash.
According to Carmen Rottenberg , USDA’s interim assistant Secretary of Food Safety, this happens with such frequency because it is impossible to “see, smell or feel” the bacteria, but with a simple and proper hand washing, you can “protect the family” and avoid contamination of “food and key areas in the kitchen”.
To demonstrate the hypothesis, the study counted with the participation of 383 people who were asked to prepare a turkey burger whose ingredients were inoculated with a harmless bacteriophage . The idea was to determine the hygiene behavior of each participant throughout the preparation of the dish. Afterwards, microbiological samples were taken from the food and everyone was asked about their cooking habits.
The results revealed that most of the participants did not wash their hands with soap long enough and a large percentage did not dry them with a clean towel.Also, this improper practice caused that in 48% of the time the bacteriophage was disseminated through food containers and refrigerators when in contact with other foods.
On the other hand, only 34% of those involved used a food thermometer to verify that the meat was cooked properly and less than half of them knew the minimum internal temperatures recommended for meat products.
According to USDA information, 48 million Americans suffer from foodborne illnesses each year, resulting in approximately 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.
For this reason, the department recommends washing your hands with clean water and soap , rubbing both the palms and the back, between the fingers and nails. This habit should be prolonged for at least 20 seconds and always after touching “raw meat, poultry or eggs”, without forgetting to dry with a clean towel or paper.