Americans naturally want safe food, but many don’t understand what that means or the role that they play in the end product. According to a recent survey, U.S. consumers are either doing too much or too little when it comes to basic food safety practices in their home kitchens. The survey was conducted by the not-for-profit public health and safety group NSF International.

For example, the survey found that 78 percent of respondents knew how to defrost meat and poultry safely, but only 20 percent use a meat thermometer to ensure doneness when cooking meat. Although 90 percent of consumers polled said they wash their hands after handling raw meats or poultry, 20 percent aren’t using warm water and soap to do so.

Just under one-third of survey respondents said it’s okay to re-freeze meat that’s been thawed in the refrigerator. NSF International representative point out that   refreezing thawed meat reduces its quality, as moisture is typically .lost during thawing.

“These survey findings demonstrate the need for additional consumer education around food safety in the home.  Many of the food safety practices we learn at home when we’re young are carried with us through life and passed to the next generation,” said Cheryl Luptowski, home safety expert for NSF. “Food safety is everyone’s responsibility, and consumers need to put added attention around food safety practices. Learning, understanding and changing food safety behavior through simple everyday practices will make a substantial difference in reducing the incidence of foodborne illness in America.”

The survey was conducted by telephone between July 22-25, involving 1,000 people, nationwide.