A Viral Avocado Storage Hack Is a Breeding Ground for Bacteria, the FDA Warns

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fcafotodigital/iStock via Getty Images / fcafotodigital/iStock via Getty Images

Some viral life hacks are too good to be true. That's the case with an avocado storage trick that spread online earlier in 2022. As Food & Wine reports, refrigerating your avocados in a bowl of water as recommended by numerous articles and TikTok videos can lead to foodborne illness.

Avocados tend to go bad shortly after they ripen, and the internet was eager to find a solution to this problem. That solution seemed to come in the form of a simple kitchen hack earlier this year. As the viral posts and videos demonstrated, storing the produce in chilled water slows oxidation and keeps them fresh for up to a month.

An ice bath may prevent your avocados from becoming brown and mushy, but that's not all it does. According to the FDA, water has the potential to be a breeding ground for any residual human pathogens—like Listeria or Salmonella—on the surface of the fruit.

The rind won't necessarily protect the flesh inside. The agency stated 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." So taking full advantage of the storage hack puts you and your household at risk of food poisoning when it's finally time to enjoy your avocado toast.

Storing avocados in water is one kitchen trick you should skip, even if it means throwing out overripe avocados you bought only a few days ago. For people who eat avocados on a regular basis, making them last longer may not be their top concern. Waiting for underripe avocados to soften can be just as frustrating as racing to eat them before they go bad. Here are some avocado ripening hacks that are both safe and convenient.

This story was updated on May 31, 2022.

[h/t Food & Wine]