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Food scientist issues dire warning against viral avocado storage hack: 'This is not ... safe'

This hack increases the risk of foodborne illness.

Dire warning against viral avocado storage hack

Photo Credit: @foodsciencebabe / Instagram

Food hacks are fun. But like most everything on the internet, they should be taken with a grain of salt (no pun intended). One food scientist is proving this by debunking the viral avocado storage hack, saying it increases the risk of foodborne illness.  

The scoop

By now, you've probably seen the hack in question. It's taken social media by storm and claims to save avocados for weeks at a time. It involves storing your avocados in water in your fridge. The idea of unspoiled avocados sounds great, but chemical engineer and food scientist Food Science Babe (@foodsciencebabe) recently took to Reels to explain why this is not safe. 

Food Science Babe starts her video showing off the hack.

"Don't put your avocados in water in the fridge," she begins. "This can increase your risk of foodborne illness because bacteria that can be on the outside of the avocado peel such as salmonella or listeria — once you're putting it into water in the fridge, you're just putting it into a breeding ground for that bacteria to multiply."

But it's not just the outside of the avocado that is in danger. She goes on to explain that if avocados are stored in water for prolonged periods, that bacteria can actually seep into the meat of the avocado. And it's not just bacteria from the avocado skin at that point, but other bacteria in your fridge can contribute. 

"This is not a safe hack!" she writes in the caption. 

How it's helping

It's never fun having to throw out what was once perfectly good produce. In fact, around 119 billion pounds of food is thrown away each year in the U.S. Food makes up 22% of our trash, making it the single largest component of U.S. landfills.

"I really wish this was a safe hack, because there have been times I've ended up having to throw an avocado away because I didn't use it in time," Food Science Babe says. "But please don't do it. It's not worth the increased risk of foodborne illness."  

Instead, try composting food like spoiled avocados to cut down on the amount of food that ends up in landfills.

And Food Science Babe doesn't leave us hanging completely. She says that dry avocados can be stored in the fridge to stretch their shelf life a few days, just be sure to rinse, scrub, and dry them before consuming. 

What everyone's saying

It's safe to say the internet has a lot of opinions on avocado, and this post got people talking. 

"Thank you!" one person wrote. "So many hacks spreading around that sound so good … but in the long run aren't safe or really that effective!👏"

"I had no idea listeria is a concern on avocado skin!" another commented "Thanks for that info. I DO store mine in the fridge, just sitting on the shelf, but NOT in water. They do keep longer that way."

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