In terms of how exactly people are failing at such a seemingly simple task, the researchers found that 80% of the time, people weren't washing with soap for the recommended duration of 20 seconds. Beyond that, 40% of the time people didn't even wet their hands with water. The researchers also spiked the turkey burgers with a harmless tracer bacteria in order to monitor the incidence of cross-contamination. In that regard, they found that spice containers were contaminated 48% of the time, and refrigerator handles were contaminated 11% of the time, all due to the fact that people weren't washing correctly.
Just in case you aren't sure what the proper technique is, the USDA recommends a simple five-step regimen that involves scrubbing your hands -- front and back -- for 20 seconds under clean water before rinsing and drying them with a clean towel or air dryer.