The FDA’s warning for TikTok’s avocado water hack, explained

Images via TikTok

TikTok is always rife with new trends, challenges, and hacks. A popular new hack currently receiving public attention has to do with TikTok users submerging avocados in water to preserve them over long periods of time. While the nifty hack is both convenient and thrifty, new information from the Food and Drug Administration reveals it’s not without its consequences. 

The hack gained momentum in March 2022 when TikTok user @shamamamahealing posted a video of two week-old avocados stored in a jar of water. When @shamamamahealing pulled an avocado out of the jar and cut it open, lo and behold, the avocados were perfectly green and free of any brown spots. The video has over 6.2 million views.

@shamamamahealing

Just some #avocado magic for you! Store in water in the fridge for up to a month! #kitchentips #vegan #vegetarian #howto

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The hack has blown up all over TikTok with other users giving the nifty trick a try, including @creative_explained whose account boasts over 4.1 million followers. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing the vibrant green inside of a perfectly ripe avocado. That being said, while the hack seems like a dream come true for anyone who’s ever had their avocado go bad on them, the FDA is warning users against it.

What is the FDA’s warning against the avocado water hack on TikTok?

In a statement to Good Morning America, a representative of the FDA urged TikTok users and all lovers of avocados to proceed with caution when attempting the viral hack because while it might seem harmless on the surface, it can actually be quite dangerous. Take, for example, a kitchen counter that has been in contact with raw fish, eggs, or veggies that have been contaminated from bad soil or fertilizer.

“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.”

“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.”

The FDA did not clarify whether thoroughly cleaning the skin of avocados before submerging them in water makes a significant difference, but of course it’s best to err on the side of caution and store them a different, safer way. This can include wrapping a half opened avocado in plastic food wrap and storing it in the fridge. It may not get you two weeks, but it will prolong the avocado’s life for several days.

At the end of the day, while the idea of the perfect avocado toast or guacamole is titillating, when the FDA chimes in on your food adventures, it’s best to listen.