The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has spoken out against the TikTok viral attack.
Users on the platform have posted videos showing how to store cut avocado in water to prevent it from turning brown. While it can stay green, the FDA has issued a warning about the practice.
An FDA official told Good Morning America that storing in water is unsafe due to bacterial contamination.
The official told the morning news media that:The main concern is that any residual human pathogens that may be present on the surface of the avocado (e.g., Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, etc.) could multiply during the storage process while submerged in water.”
Even washing off the surface of an avocado before submerging it in water does not protect it from contamination.
“In addition, studies conducted by FDA scientists have shown that immersion of Listeria monocytogenes in refrigerated decanters for 15 days during refrigerated storage has the potential to penetrate and internalize avocado flesh,” the statement continued. In this case, even surface disinfection of the avocado skin prior to slicing would not remove the contamination.”
Doctors on TikTok are also participating in the viral attack. Dr. Erin Carter, a rheumatologist, also shared the news that the FDA disapproves of this unsafe trend.
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“It turns out that’s not a good idea,” she says. “Storing avocados in this manner actually promotes the growth of two different types of bacteria – Salmonella and Listeria – and can lead to poisoning from these bacteria. It’s not pleasant to be infected with either of these bacteria. You really want to avoid them.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says people infected with both types of bacteria can experience gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and nausea, and can develop a fever.
In her video, Carter goes on to confirm that simply washing avocados before submerging them in water doesn’t solve the problem because the bacteria are so strong they can “penetrate the skin of the avocado” and thus multiply in the flesh of the avocado.
The best way to store avocados is in a dry environment such as the refrigerator or counter, she said.