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Warning To Wash Avocados Before Eating Them



Would that apply to many things - where cutting them with a knife can transfer what may be on the outside skin/rind/peel to the inner flesh?


There seems to be a problem with food handling in the USA. Scandals of toxic restaurant salad and supermarket vegetables are common, in many cases demonstrably due to poor handling practice. You are given dire warnings to never eat raw egg, the list goes on. Assuming that such tests show the avocado is a real danger to human health I would like to know firstly if such test results have been replicated in this country.

Secondly before panic sets in I would like to know the nature of these positive tests, do they really mean the fruit is a risk or does it just mean pathogens can be detected. You can test any object in your house and almost any substance you would eat or drink (stick to neat spirits over Christmas if you are worried) and get a positive result if the test is sensitive enough. It is no exaggeration to say that pathogens are ubiquitous in the environment, which is why you have an immune system. Vendors of germicidal sprays and wipes are at pains to tell you how many germs are on your kitchen bench, phone or tap handles. None of this necessarily means your house or food is dangerous. Having said all that do use good food handling methods and take particular care around those with compromised immune systems.


Wouldn’t it be more effective to smash them?

As an aside, I always wash camels before cutting them …


Very good point. Just because they are present don’t mean there is a risk of an infection. One often needs to consume many pathogen cells (e.g. a number of colony forming units) to get an infection (otherwise we would possibly be sick all the time or dead). There are exceptions including hydadid cysts and worms (which one egg/propagating unit) but these are not often on fruit/vegetable skins.

Europe also sources many of its fresh fruit and veges from non-European countries where hygiene standards are no where near that if Australia.

Australia also has food hygiene systems in place to reduce risk of any contaminated food outbreaks.


Standing around at the fruit shop and seeing people handle the merchandise or brush up against it, I’ve often wondered how much strife this type of thing causes when the item is not cooked, the skin is eaten and the fruit is not easily washed with hot water water without spoiling. But I haven’t personally had much trouble so far.