That Viral TikTok Hack for Keeping Avocados Fresh Is Actually Dangerous, FDA Warns
No one likes wasting avocados. They're as delicious as they are pricey. But a popular hack for keeping your avocados fresh that has continued to make the rounds on social media might not be as ideal as advertised — and even the FDA has repeatedly warned against it.
On Friday, Newsweek covered a viral TikTok tip, viewed millions of times, exclaiming that you could "Store [avocados] in water in the fridge for up to a month!" The hack is far from new: The exact same avocado preservation method had gone viral on Facebook a few months ago, also grabbing attention from major new outlets like Today.
But in both cases, the FDA came out against the practice, commenting that using water to preserve avocados isn't as foolproof as a social media post might imply. "The FDA does not recommend this practice," the agency stated. "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 may potentially multiply during the storage when submerged in water."
Indeed, FDA research published in 2018 found that, out of 1,615 avocado samples, over 17 percent had Listeria monocytogenes contamination on their skins. As a result, the government already recommends, "Even if you plan to cut the rind or peel off the produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first so dirt and bacteria aren't transferred from the knife onto the fruit."
Furthermore, the FDA goes on to specifically debunk the "up to a month" claim. "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," they continue. "In this case, even surface disinfecting the avocado skin prior to slicing would not be able to remove the contamination."
Admittedly, none of this FDA advice actually debunks the "hack." Submerging avocados in water and storing them in the fridge may keep them green longer. Instead, what the FDA is saying is that doing so can increase the likelihood that those avocados can make you ill. But that kind of thing doesn't make for a sharable TikTok video.