An avocado grower and distributor in California announced the recall of avocados in six states, and it is a reminder to wash them.
Henry Avocado announced that conventional and organic avocados will be recalled Arizona, Florida New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, according to an alert posted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on March 24. The avocados were grown in California, and the firm didn’t start packing until January 2019.
Tests showed that some samples contained the bacteria listeria, which can cause the potentially deadly listeriosis illness.
Consumers can identify the products with the “Bravocado” sticker on conventional avocados, and “organic” and “California” on the stickers on the sticker. Mexican-grown avocados distributed by Henry are not subject to the recall and are safe to eat
The recall should serve as a reminder to wash avocados. Although people don’t eat the skin, when one uses a knife to cut through the skin, it can drag the Listeria bacteria through the avocado.
In December 2018, the FDA discovered that Listeria monocytogenes bacteria was found on 17 percent of avocado skins between 2014 and 2015. About 0.2 percent had Listeria inside the avocado in the edible part.
All avocados should be washed before eating, according to the FDA’s report last December, which also noted that the bacteria easily transfers from the skin into the inside via a knife. It also noted that the bacteria could also contaminate other food if one uses the same knife.
“Based on the test results, the FDA found the overall prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes in the avocado pulp samples to be 0.24 percent and in the avocado skin samples to be 17.73 percent. The report addresses these findings in its various sections and aggregates the discussion of them in a dedicated appendix, in addition to providing breakdowns as described above,” the FDA report said.
It noted there are “practices associated with avocado consumption” that reduce contamination.
“Consumers commonly slice avocados and extract the fruit’s pulp prior to eating it, discarding the fruit’s peel as they would a banana peel or an orange rind. Consumers also typically eat avocados shortly after slicing the fruit as its pulp tends to brown quickly once exposed to oxygen. These practices generally limit the amount of the pathogen, if present, that consumers may be exposed to,” said the FDA.
Officials at the FDA blog Foodsafety.gov also recommend scrubbing the skin of any vegetable with a produce brush and then drying it with cloth or a paper towel.
“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,” the agency wrote.
Regarding the Henry Avocado recall, no illnesses have been reported. Consumers should return them to where they bought them.
Consumers who have purchased Henry’s recalled avocados are urged not to consume them, but to discard them or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with further questions can contact Henry Avocado at (760) 745-6632, Ext 132 or visit www.henryavocado.com/media.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), listeria can be fatal sometimes.
Individuals who are particularly at risk of the bacteria are children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems.
“You should seek medical care and tell the doctor about eating possibly contaminated food if you have a fever and other symptoms of possible listeriosis, such as fatigue and muscle aches, within two months after eating possibly contaminated food,” the CDC says. “This is especially important if you are pregnant, age 65 or older, or have a weakened immune system.”
Symptoms of listeriosis include a headache, high fever, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain.
Henry Avocado said it is working with federal and California health officials to recall the avocados.