FDA Issues Warning That Avocado Skins Tested Positive For Listeria and Salmonella

by Thea Glassman
Image via Westend61/Getty

Avocado skins tested positive for listeria and salmonella, according to the FDA

Listen up, avocado lovers. The FDA issued a report that says a chunk of avocado skins tested over the past 18 months contained salmonella and listeria. These icky bacterias can make it into your mouth, causing a potentially fatal condition. Here’s everything you need to know.

The FDA report explained that you need to make sure to wash your avocados before you go to town on cutting them. Basically, it turns out that 17% of 1,615 avocados tested were contaminated with bacteria, which means that there’s definitely a good chance that yours could be affected too. Even though we’re not actually eating the skin of the avocado, the bacteria can travel into the tasty, gooey part that we do plan to eat when we cut the fruit open.

There’s only a small chance that the bacteria will make its way into the part of the avocado you’re eating (0.24% of avocados tested were contaminated on the inside), but it’s still better to be safe than sorry. Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, symptoms that can become so severe that they can lead to hospitalization. Listeria is also really scary, and can lead to listeriosis, which causes flu-like symptoms, convulsions, and disorientation. It primarily effects pregnant women and newborns.

According to, the best way to clean your produce is to start with clean hands. Wash up for twenty seconds with warm water and soap before handling the avocado. Cut away any bruised portions (if it looks too damaged throw it out altogether). Then, wash thoroughly. Avoid using soap, detergent or commercial produce washes on the fruit.

“Scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush,” the website noted. “Dry produce with a clean cloth towel or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present.”

Okay, we know this sounds like a whole lot of extra steps before you get to dig into your delicious avocado toast, but it’ll be well worth it just in case. After you’re done washing, you can head straight to yummy avocado heaven without worry.