You might want to hold off on the avocado toast and guacamole this week, thanks to a mass recall on avocado that's impacting six different states. If you purchased avocados recently, you'll want to double-check the label before consuming them to make sure they're not part of this avocado recall for possible listeria contamination. According to the FDA recall announcement, California-based grower Henry Avocado Corporation is recalling both conventional and organic varieties, so here's what you should know before you toss your avocados.
On Saturday, March 23, the FDA issued an announcement that revealed that Henry Avocado had voluntarily chosen to recall all of its avocados that were grown in California and are now being sold in bulk at retail stores. According to the report, officials found traces of listeria "on environmental samples taken during a routine government inspection at its California packing facility." Thus far, there have been no reported illnesses linked to the recall, but the company is reportedly issuing the notice out of an abundance of caution.
Here's how you can tell if your avocados are part of the recall, which is reportedly impacting consumers in Arizona, California, Florida New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. For non-organic avocados, you'll be able to tell if they could be a candidate for listeria contamination if they are covered with stickers that say "Bravocado."
Meanwhile, if you bought organic avocados, identifying the ones you should toss is a little trickier. Those avos will be labeled "organic" and also have the word "California" on the sticker, according to the FDA notice. If it makes things easier, you can also check the bar code to see if it matches the image below. The recall applies to all avocados that have been shipped from the California packing facility, which the company says they started working with in January 2019.
In the announcement, the Henry Avocado Corporation specifies that their avocados imported from Mexico are not part of the recall, so those are still safe to consume.
Still, considering that the FDA has previously found that about one in five avocados have traces of listeria on its peel according to a December 2018 study, I'd definitely recommend washing all your avocados before consuming them. During a two-year-long test, the FDA found that 17 percent of 361 avocados gathered from a larger sample had the bacteria on its peel, which could pose a risk of contamination if you were to cut into your avocado without washing it.
While listeria poisoning isn't nearly as prevalent or as responsible for as many deaths as salmonella, according to the Center for Disease Control, it's still not something to take lightly. According to the FDA recall announcement, the illness can be particularly serious for "young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems." In addition, pregnant women can suffer miscarriages or stillbirths as a result of the infection. Per the FDA report, healthy people "may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea" as a result of the infection, but it's better to practice an overabundance of caution as it's not something that anyone wants in their lives.
If you happen to live in one of the six states that are impacted by the recall, I'd hold off on ordering any avocado-based dishes while you're out at restaurants and take a look at produce you bought from the grocery. Listeria germs can also still spread quickly in cooler temperatures like those found in your refrigerator, so I'd double check the labels of your avocados as soon as possible.