The Avocado Recall for Listeria Reveals a Major Mistake You're Making With Your Avocados
Avocados that were possibly contaminated with listeria bacteria have been recalled in six states.
Henry Avocado Corporation issued a statement over the weekend announcing the recall of two types of avocados that were sold to stores in Arizona, California, Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.
No illnesses associated with the recall have been reported. “Henry Avocado is issuing this voluntary recall out of an abundance of caution due to positive test results on environmental samples taken during a routine government inspection at its California packing facility,” according to a statement from the company.
Henry Avocado said both organic and nonorganic avocados have been recalled and taken off store shelves. The recalled conventional avocados sold at retail stores were labeled with a sticker that said “Bravocado.” The organic recalled avocados were labeled as organic and featured a sticker that said “California.”
The statement warns that shoppers in the affected states should toss any recalled avocados they haven’t eaten. Alternatively, they can return them to the store where they purchased them for a refund.
Typically, listeria symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, and diarrhea. The symptoms usually resolve within a few days. If listeriosis—the technical term for a listeria infection—spreads to the nervous system, though, the consequences can be more dire, leading to a months-long illness and even meningitis or sepsis.
Listeria bacteria usually reach food products via contaminated water and soil, but contamination can also occur after a product—like an avocado—has been harvested if it comes in contact with a surface the bacteria are living on.
There’s a pretty simple way to avoid picking up listeria bacteria from avocados that you might not already be doing: Wash them. It might seem unnecessary since you aren’t eating avocado peels. But when you slice an avocado, bacteria that live on the skin can be transferred to the part of the fruit you do plan to eat.
In fact, it’s a smart move to wash all produce before eating it, even foods like avocados and melons that have a protective peel. “Even if you plan to cut the rind or peel off the produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable,” according to FoodSafety.gov.
Whether or not this avocado recall affects you, it’s probably worth the extra five seconds it adds to your guacamole prep time to wash and dry those avocados.
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