You Should Be Washing Avocados Before Eating Them To Avoid Contamination, Study Finds

You Should Be Washing Avocados Before Eating Them To Avoid Contamination, Study Finds

If you’re partial to the odd bowl of fresh, home-made guacamole or would rather spend your cash on avocado on toast than get yourself on the property ladder, then you really ought to be washing the peel before you cut up and tuck in.

Now, I always live by the rule that unless you’re eating the skin or peel then it doesn’t need to be washed, but a study by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found that I’m talking out of my arse (again) and that people should be washing the peel of avocados before cutting.

In a two-year-long assessment the FDA found that avocado peels can contain nasty bacteria, including listeria and salmonella.

The study tested 1,615 avocados and found 17 percent tested positive for listeria on the skins and just under one percent of the avocado skins were found to be tainted with salmonella.

However when it came to find the bacteria on the flesh of the fruit, it was much lower – only the flesh of three out of 1,254 tested positive for listeria.

But despite the low numbers, the FDA still says avo fans should thoroughly wash the skins before they cut into the fruit, because there’s a small risk that while cutting through the skin the flesh could get contaminated with any bacteria that may be lying about.

Advice from the – the blog run by the FDA – recommends that people wash their hands for at least 20 seconds before and after handling fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as washing the produce under running water.


It goes on to suggest that for firm fruits and veggies, like the avocado, you could also scrub the skin with a clean brush to make sure that all bacteria are banished, before drying it off with a cloth or paper towel. Better to be safe than sorry and all that.

And if you needed an excuse to chow down on your guacamole even quicker, then the FDA has got your back, as it reckons it’s best to eat avocado shortly after they are cut to help limit the amount of pathogen (‘if present’) that you may come into contact with.

Featured Image Credit: PA

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