Food & Recipes

Why You Need to Start Washing Your Avocados


Whether it’s smashed into gua­camole, spread on toast, or whipped into a choco­late mousse, the hum­ble av­o­cado is a ver­sa­tile fruit, and a sta­ple of any good diet. We thought we knew every­thing about this pho­to­genic food­, but it ap­pears not. Ac­cord­ing to to a re­cent re­port from the US Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FDA), we should have been wash­ing our av­o­ca­dos all this time. Who knew?

A sam­pling of 1,615 whole fresh av­o­ca­dos col­lected by the FDA from be­gin­ning in 2014 found that both sal­mo­nella and lis­te­ria mono­cy­to­genes bac­te­ria was pre­sent in some of the fruit. Specif­i­cally, 17 percent of the av­o­cado skins came back pos­i­tive for lis­te­ria bac­te­ria, and just un­der one percent showed signs of sal­mo­nella.

While this might not ap­pear to be a risk con­sid­er­ing we nor­mally only eat the av­o­cado flesh as op­posed to the skin, the FDA warns that bac­te­ria can be spread from the skin to the flesh when the av­o­cado is cut open us­ing a knife.

There’s no need to can­cel all your up­com­ing brunch plans though; the FDA recommends wash­ing the fruit to avoid spread of bac­te­ria. The FDA’s blog suggests wash­ing your hands for at least 20 sec­onds be­fore and af­ter han­dling fruit and vegetables, and then wash­ing all pro­duce un­der run­ning wa­ter. For firm pro­duce (i.e. av­o­ca­dos), they sug­gest go­ing a step fur­ther and wash­ing the skin us­ing a pro­duce brush and then dry­ing off with a cloth to en­sure all bac­te­ria is suf­fi­ciently re­moved.

This article was originally written by Elizabeth Bennett. For more, check out our sister site, Grazia.

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