Do you wash avocados before eating it? According to a recent report by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it should, because the skin of fruits can contain traces of Listeria monocytogenes.
In a report released earlier this month, the FDA released the results of the 2014-2016 study. Years in which researchers tested more than 1,000 imported and domestic Avocados skin for the presence of Listeria monocitogenes.
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Finally, the FDA concluded that Listeria monocytogenes are present on the skin of more than 17% of avocados tested. Less than 1% of respondents tested positively with Salmonella.
"The findings of this assertion confirm that Salmonella may be present in avocado and that Listeria monocytogenes may be present on or in the fruit," the FDA said.
Based on the results of the study, the federal agency invites consumers to thoroughly wash avocados outside, before cutting it – because a knife used for cutting fruits can transfer bacteria to an edible part of avocados. More specifically, the FDA recommends that the fish be removed from the "fruit brush" before it is dried with a paper towel or a clean cloth.
The FDA also recommends doing the same for other products, such as melon and orange.
"Other practices associated with avocado consumption can reduce the risk for consumers as well. Consumers usually cut the avocados and extract the fruit pulp before they eat it, throwing off the peeled fruits as they would do from peeling the banana or orange peel, "the FDA adds. "Consumers also usually eat avocados shortly after fruits are cut, because its pulp is suddenly brown when exposed to oxygen. These practices generally limit the amount of pathogen, if present, to which consumers may be exposed. "
Those exposed to Listeria monocytogenes could develop an infection called Listerioza, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most people develop a disease after they eat food that is contaminated with Listeria monocitogenes.
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"At low levels of exposure, Listeria monocytogenes does not cause severe illness in healthy adults. However, pregnant women, elderly people and people with a weakened immune system (such as transplant recipients, or those with diabetes or cancer) are susceptible to small amounts of pathogens, "the FDA says.
To read more about how Listeria can affect pregnant women, elderly people and those with a weakened immune system, click here.