Before the barbecue on July 4th Agriculture reminds us to wash our hands.

A USDA study found that consumers do not wash their hands properly 97% of the time, and the most common mistake is not to wash their hands long enough.

The observational study, conducted in collaboration with nonprofit firm RTI International and North Carolina State University, involved 383 participants in test kitchens in North Carolina and their surveillance by cameras while preparing dishes such as turkey burgers and a cooking lettuce

Study found that only 3% of participants followed all the necessary steps to properly wash their hands.

"You can not see, smell, or feel bacteria," said Carmen Rottenberg, deputy food security secretary ry at the USDA. "By simply washing your hands properly, you can protect your family and prevent bacteria from contaminating your food and key areas in your kitchen."

The most common hand washing error? Do not wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Other bad behaviors included not getting your hands wet or using soap.

The study also found that participants had difficulty keeping items in the kitchen free from contamination. For example, participants contaminated spice containers used in burgers 48 percent of the time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48 million Americans suffer from food-borne illnesses each year, including approximately 128,000 hospital admissions and 3,000 deaths.

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More: You're probably cleaning your teeth with feces 19659014] Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @ brettmolina23 .

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