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.