Doctors: No Matter What TikTok Says, Stop Storing Your Avocadoes in Water

Since the advent of TikTok, there have been people getting like after like for sharing “lifehacks.” Some are clever, while others may seem clever, but actually pose a significant risk to your health (and we aren’t even talking about eating Tide pods!).

Once such piece of social media advice tells us that avocadoes will last longer when stored in water. I won’t even post it here because of the potential health risks…but trust me, they’re out there.

This may come as a shock to some of you, but that doesn’t work and is a horrible idea.

The concept has become widespread enough that the FDA has had to weigh in:

“The FDA does not recommend this practice.  The main concern is with the possibility that any residual human pathogens (i.e. Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp., etc.) that may be residing on the avocado surface (FDA Microbiological Surveillance Sampling for Whole Fresh Avocados), 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 internalize 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.“

Here’s Rachel Gustafson a family medicine advanced practice nurse from OSF HealthCare, which also sent out a press release warning against the avocadoes-in-water practice.

“It gives bacteria a chance to harbor and multiply overnight, or even over months like some people are doing. It increases your risk for those GI infections such as listeria, salmonella, etcetera.

Avocados typically have a short shelf life – the fruit tends to ripen quickly – and will rapidly turn a brown color after they are cut into. Individuals who have attempted this trend on TikTok have claimed it works wonders because it keeps the avocado that perfect shade of green.

Although it may not look as appealing as a bright green avocado, health experts add that the browning of an avocado is perfectly natural – and consuming a browned avocado is, in many cases, much safer than consuming a green avocado that has spent any amount of time being stored in a container of water.

Gustafson adds that the best way to store an avocado would be on the counter if it is not yet opened, and then keep it in a sealed container in the refrigerator once is had been sliced open – just make sure to avoid adding water. Once properly stored, the best time to finish your avocado is within two to three days.

If you are concerned you may have consumed an avocado that was not stored properly, pay attention to signs of a possible listeria or salmonella infection. Symptoms of these infections can include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and headaches.

So, the fact that keeping them in water may keep the oxygen away, thus keeping it fresher…it also is a great place for pathogens that are on the surface of the fruit to multiply, this actually increasing your risk for projectile vomiting and…well, you know. 💩

Thanks again, TikTok.