Are You Washing Your Avocados? You Should Be

mbg Health Contributor By Gretchen Lidicker, M.S.
mbg Health Contributor
Gretchen Lidicker earned her master’s degree in physiology with a focus on alternative medicine from Georgetown University. She is the author of “CBD Oil Everyday Secrets” and “Magnesium Everyday Secrets.”

Image by Giada Canu / Stocksy

Here at mbg, we love avocados. And who doesn't? They're the perfect addition to pretty much any meal, whether it be a salad, sandwich, or smoothie. If you're someone who's putting this magical fruit on everything, there's something you need to know. According to a new report released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, you should be washing your avocados before you cut into them.

If you're thinking "Excuse me, what? Isn't that what the peel is for?" I hear you. Sadly, the skin isn't quite as protective as you might think. The FDA found Listeria monocytogenes bacteria on the skins of about 18 percent of the avocados they tested. When you cut into one of those avocados, you can drag these germs into the pulp part of the fruit—and then into your body.

L. monocytogenes is no joke, either. According to the CDC, it can cause symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, fever, and in serious cases, disorientation, convulsions, and a stiff neck. It can even be fatal, and pregnant women, children, and elderly people are particularly at risk. Now, before you freak out, the report did show that although 64 of the 361 avocado skin samples were positive for Listeria monocytogenes (about 18 percent), only 3 out of 1,254 of the pulp samples tested positive for the presence of these bacteria. The risk is relatively low, but with that list of symptoms, it's better to be safe than sorry.

And so, next time you're making guacamole on Taco Tuesday, slicing avocado to top your salad, or trying one of these 11 new ways to use avocado you hadn't heard of before, give them a nice scrub and then wipe them down with a towel.

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