Somewhere among all the recalls being issued, this pressing avocado news got lost in the shuffle. Earlier this month, the FDA issued a report saying it is now crucial to wash your avocados before eating them. That’s because a good portion of avocado skins sampled over 18 months tested positive for bacteria like salmonella and listeria.
If you’re sitting there wondering why this matters, as you, like most humans, are not prone to eating the tough outer skins of avocados, here’s why it does: The knife you’re using to cut through the potentially contaminated skin can carry that bacteria into the flesh of the fruit, which you do eat. In fact, 17 percent of the 1,615 avocados tested did carry potentially harmful bacteria, making this news relevant to you.
And while the likelihood of the bacteria traveling into the avocado via a knife is slim, 0.24 percent of the avocados tested were found to have listeria within their edible portions. It’s a small percentage, but it was notable enough for the FDA to double down on this warning. Also of note: the FDA’s samplings were of both domestically and internationally grown avocados.
As a refresher, both salmonella and listeria are potentially fatal bacteria oftentimes found in fresh produce. They’ve both been responsible for several recalls this year.
In order to decrease your chances of ingesting the bacteria, Foodsafety.gov recommends you thoroughly wash all hard-shelled produce that comes through your home before eating it. You can do so with “a clean produce brush, and then dry it with a clean cloth towel or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present.”
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