Here’s Why the FDA Says You Need to Wash Avocados Before Eating Them

Avocado lovers need to read this one!

By: Amanda Mushro
Fresh avocado on cutting board over wooden background


Fresh avocado on cutting board over wooden background

Photo by: tashka2000


If you always say yes to “would you like guac with that?” or you can’t imagine starting your day without a spread of avocado on your toast, you’ll want to make sure the avocados at your house are taking a quick bath before you dig in.

The FDA has issued a warning that before eating, you need to wash avocados because the skins can contain some not-so-appetizing bacteria like salmonella and listeria. Even though you aren’t eating the avocado skins, experts agree that the bacteria can easily transfer from the skin to the delicious green fruit inside. So when you slice open the avocado, you are transferring the bacteria to the inside and then into your mouth. Not good, avocado fans. Not good.

According to their research, 17% of 1,615 avocados tested were contaminated with bacteria. That means there is a good chance the avocados sitting on your kitchen counter contain the bacteria too. The FDA says salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, and listeria can lead to listeriosis, which causes flu-like symptoms, convulsions, and disorientation. They warn it primarily effects pregnant women and newborns.

So what’s the best way to clean an avocado? The FDA recommends washing the avocado before scrubbing the skin with a brush and then drying with a clean cloth or paper towel. Then be sure to dispose of the avocado skin to prevent the bacteria from spreading to other surfaces.

Just giving your avocado a good scrub will prevent you from getting sick from your guacamole and really, adding an extra step to your prep is worth it once you get to dig in, right? If we can overcome our fear of “avocado hand”, an extra scrub is worth it.

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