Why you're advised to wash avocado before eating it

Avo on toast = yum, but did you wash it first? [Photo: Getty]
Avo on toast = yum, but did you wash it first? [Photo: Getty]

Smashed up on toast or sliced in a salad, our love for the humble avocado shows no signs of slowing. But if you’re planning to get your green stuff fix over the festive season you might want to make sure you wash it before you spread it on your sour dough.

The FDA (the food and drug administration in the US) has issued a warning to avo fans that they need to be giving the fruit a good scrub before smashing because they’ve found bacteria such as salmonella and listeria on the avocado skins they’ve tested over the last 18 months.

We know you peel the avocados first, but according to the food safety experts, merely peeling the skin won’t protect you completely.

That’s because when you slice through the avocado the knife could carry bacteria from the skin into the avocado flesh, which you then whack in your mouth. Gross!

The researchers compiled data showing listeria monocytogenes, the nasty stuff present in soil, dirty water and certain animals, and found it was present on 17% of avocado skin samples taken from 2014 to 2016.

Plus, 0.24% or three out of 1,254 of the pulp samples tested actually came back positive of the avocados the FDA tested had listeria within the fleshy bit of the avocado, which granted is a very small percentage, but a percentage none the less.

The FDA has issued a warning about washing avocados before eating [Photo: Getty]
The FDA has issued a warning about washing avocados before eating [Photo: Getty]

So what are the risks of consuming a bacteria-laden avo?

According to the NHS listeriosis is a rare infection caused by the bacteria listeria. It can lead to symptoms such as sickness and diarrhoea, but usually clears up within a few days.

According to the report, those at greater risk of contracting the infection include pregnant women, newborn babies and the elderly, as well as anyone whose immune system has been compromised.

To combat the potential problem the FDA recommends washing your avos under running water before physically scrubbing the green stuff with a special brush before drying with a clean cloth or paper towel.

They also suggest speedily disposing of your avocado skin as soon as you peel it to avoid transferring the bacteria to other work surfaces.

And chowing down straight away rather than leaving it sitting on your counter top.

So far there have been no reports of people falling ill because of their an avocado, but its worth going through the extra preparation faff just to make sure your brunch is bacteria-free.

The warning comes as it was revealed last month that some restaurants and cafés were removing avocados from their menus over environmental concerns.

According to a food mileage calculator, the average avocado travels 4,402 miles before it’s smashed and spread on our toast.

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