‘Serious’: FDA issues warning to anyone storing avocados in water amid new TikTok trend

Avocado: The main health benefits

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The US Food and Drug Administration has urged the public not to store their avocados in water amid a viral TikTok trend. Videos have emerged on the social media platform in recent months showing perfectly preserved avocados stored in H20. The FDA warns this could have “serious” health repercussions for certain people if the fruit becomes contaminated with listeria.

Speaking to Newsweek, the Agency said: “The FDA does not recommend this practice.

“The main concern saw the possibility that any residual human pathogens (Listeria monocytogenes, salmonella) that may be residing on the avocado surface may potentially multiply during the storage when submerged in water.

“In addition, research performed by FDA scientists has shown that Listeria monocytogenes has the potential to infiltrate and internalise into the pulp of avocados when submerged in refrigerated dump tanks within 15 days during refrigerated storage.

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

Listeria bacteria can grow in an array of foods, particularly soft cheese, unpasteurised milk, and smoked fish.

Occasionally, however, it can also grow on plant-based foods like salad, and continue to multiply when the food is refrigerated at a cold temperature.

If it enters the body, it can cause a rare infection known as listeriosis, which can be very dangerous in individuals with a weak immune system.

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Elderly people, pregnant women, and young babies can also be at risk of serious complications from the infection.

Invulnerable groups, listeria could spread through the body and attack the brain, or cause miscarriages in expectant mothers.

The FDA said scientists who studied skin samples from 1,615 avocados, found the overall prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes to be 17.73 percent.

The researchers also found that refrigerating the avocados in water only allowed the bacteria to migrate from the outside of the fruit to the inside.

An entry on the FDA’s website reads: “Compared to other foodborne illnesses, listeriosis is rare but very serious.

“Even with adequate antibiotic treatment, the disease has a high mortality rate of 20 to 30 percent.

“Over 90 percent of people with listeriosis are hospitalised, often in intensive care units.”

In people who develop a listeria infection, symptoms may include a fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhoea.

If the bacteria spreads as far as the nervous system, neurological symptoms may abound.

This could cause headaches, stiff neck, confusion or changes in alertness, loss of balance, and convulsions.

In healthy people, symptoms usually clear up with the right treatment, while for others, they can develop to become more serious.

If symptoms arise, receiving the correct medical treatment swiftly is of the utmost importance.

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