No, please, anything but the avocados! You already took corn, lettuce, and turkey! Now we can’t eat the avocado? Ugh, it’s a sad, sad day indeed! What am I talking about? Well, the FDA has reported more than 17 percent of avocados the agency tested for the foodborne pathogen, listeria monocytogenes, had the bacteria present on the skin.
It’s no secret that avocados are undeniably amazing, but it turns out the green fruit’s outside shell may not be edible, and should be washed before consuming. Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria that can cause serious problems for older adults, people with weakened immune systems and pregnant woman. It has been the cause of several recent recalls for contamination found in fresh produce, along with salmonella and E. Coli.
But, how exactly does it get from the avocado skin to the meat of the fruit? Well, according to food experts, the pathogen can be transferred by any knife that is used to cut into the flesh, which everyone must do to get to the delicious part inside. The good news is that in the sample tested by the FDA, only .24 percent showed the presence of listeria. But, that doesn’t mean that it is still edible without washing.
To reduce the risk of consuming the pathogen, the FDA recommends washing all produce thoroughly under running water before eating, cooking, or cutting it. Even if you plan on totally removing the skin or peel off the produce first.
The FDA also recommends going a step further with firm produces such as melons and cucumbers, and scrub them with a produce brush, then drying the fruit with a clean cloth or paper towel before consuming or cutting. Safe to say avocado fanatics were surprised at the whole situation and had mixed reaction about the news. Honestly, I’m with you in this one, Twitter.
So, is listeria contamination a scary food safety to actually worry about? Well, The Centers for Disease Control and Previous estimate that around 260 people die annually from listeria. To compare, E. coli causes around 30 deaths each year, so yeah…to washing it is!