While we don’t eat the avocado peel, we should still be washing it. Most people don’t realize this, but even when we peel veggies and fruit, the germs and bacteria on the surface can come in contact with the part we eat.
A recent report from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revealed that the peels of avocado can contain some serious bacteria, including listeria and possibly even worse. This report was something that covered the time beginning in 2014 until recently and showed that when it comes to whole fresh avocados, washing is everything!
Three months into the assignment, the FDA updated its approach to its Listeria monocytogenes testing to focus on the avocado pulp (i.e., the fruit’s edible portion), as opposed to its exterior, to better evaluate public health concerns associated with the pathogen, namely the extent to which it may be present in the part of the fruit that people eat. The agency made the change to its test method as part of its assignment monitoring and upon considering that, at the time, no outbreaks or individual illnesses had been linked to Listeria monocytogenes on the fruit’s exterior (i.e., its skin).
Based on the test results, the FDA found the overall prevalence of Salmonella on the samples collected to be 0.74 percent. Breakdowns by avocado origin, variety and season are provided in the Pathogen Findings section of this report (page 10).
Based on the test results, the FDA found the overall prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes in the avocado pulp samples to be 0.24 percent and in the avocado skin samples to be 17.73 percent. The report addresses these findings in its various sections and aggregates the discussion of them in a dedicated appendix, in addition to providing breakdowns as described above.
Apparently, the Listeria positive samples were from both domestic, and imported avocados. Out of 64 avocados, 31 tested positive for Listeria, and 33 tested positive for salmonella.
Throughout the two-year assessment, the FDA collected and analyzed over 1,600 samples of avocados and while minimizing bacteria in this aspect was well worth mentioning.
The FDA suggests that consumers wash all produce thoroughly under running water before eating, cooking, or cutting. They note that according to food safety we should wash even when we are not intending to use the peel for anything, because the bacteria can travel from the knife used to cut it to the fruit itself. While the FDA intends to test methods that will reduce the prevalence of things, for now, there is not much that we can do.
Sure, this warning is not as intense as some warnings have been in the past few months, it is not one that should be ignored. When handling things like this, we should stick with the motto ‘better safe than sorry.’ While it might be inconvenient to wash your avocados, it could save you a lot of trouble in the long-run.
What do you think about all of this?