FDA warns avocado in water hack may cause salmonella and listeria poisoning

FDA warns avocado in water hack may cause salmonella and listeria poisoning
Popular avocado freshness hack has been denounced by the FDA

A hack that claims to keep your avocados from turning brown by submerging them in water has been making the rounds online. Now, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has come out against the freshness hack, as it may cause salmonella poisoning.

Avocados are perhaps infamous for turning brown in what seems only a matter of days after buying them at the grocery store. However, a hack that’s gained millions of views on TikTok has viewers submerging their avocados in water, refrigerating them in a jar for up to three weeks, and cutting them open to reveal a ripe, green shade.

In one TikTok, which has more than six million views, user @shamamamahealing opens her jar of avocados in water, which have been stored in her fridge for over two weeks. As she cuts down the middle of the avocado surface, the inside of the fruit appears as fresh as a new avocado.

While there’s been conflicting reports on just how well the hack preserves an avocado’s taste, the FDA warns against using this hack altogether.

“The FDA does not recommend this practice,” a spokesperson told TODAY. “The main concern is with the possibility that any residual human pathogens (i.e. Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp., etc.) that may be residing on the avocado surface may potentially multiply during the storage when submerged in water.”

Listeria is a serious form of food poisoning that is often caused by eating food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, such as improperly processed deli meats or unpasteurized milk products. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1,600 people are infected with listeriosis in the US each year, but it can be especially dangerous for pregnant women.

In 2022 alone, listeria outbreaks have been linked to smoked fish, salad greens, and frozen spinach.

The FDA also found that “Listeria monocytogenes has the potential to infiltrate and internalize into the pulp of avocados when submerged in refrigerated dump tanks within 15 days during refrigerated storage.”

The results of the 2014 study showed that the prevalence of Salmonella on the avocado skin samples reached 0.74 per cent. Meanwhile, the prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes in the avocado pulp samples was 0.24 per cent, while the presence of listeria in the avocado skin samples was 17.73 per cent.

“In this case, even surface disinfecting the avocado skin prior to slicing would not be able to remove the contamination,” the FDA said.

Rather than risking your health with this unsafe avocado hacks, simply store your avocados in the fridge – dry.