TikTok Hack Debunked: The FDA Says Don't Store Avocados in Water


Jul. 14 2023, Updated 4:46 p.m. ET

Avocados are a nutritious superfood many enjoy in tacos, guacamole, and on toast. Unfortunately, the fruit ripens and turns brown quickly, leaving you with less time to enjoy it. However, many people have created popular "hacks" on social media to keep the fruit around for longer, including one suggesting storing avocados in water.

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Not everyone is on board with TikTok hacks: the FDA is now saying that storing your avocados in water could give you food poisoning.

Here's what to know about the avocado storage TikTok hack debunked!

Hands holding and open avocado.
Source: Getty Images
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TikTok creator admits you shouldn't store avocados in water.

One TikTok creator who promoted the avocado-in-water hack on his page in July 2021 retracted his previous advice in another TikTok video a year later.

“In July 2021, I posted a video saying this ‘You can store an avocado in water,’” Sidney Raz said in a July 1, 2022 video. He played a clip from the previous video. “That was incorrect. Here’s something I didn’t know before I was in my 30s. It is not recommended to store avocados in water. “

“These two wonderful food experts, the FDA, and major news outlets have all let us know that it is not recommended to store avocados in water to keep them fresh longer,” Raz says in the video, showing clips of the different articles and videos against the hack.

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“I guess we’re back to just hoping they don’t turn brown,” Raz says. As he turns from the camera at the end of the video, he yells, “Honey, take the avocados out of the water. “

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Why the FDA says you shouldn't store avocados in water.

An FDA spokesperson told Newsweek that storing avocados, either whole or half, in water can lead to bacterial contamination.

”The main concern is with the possibility that any residual human pathogens (Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, etc.) that may be residing on the avocado surface may potentially multiply during the storage when submerged in water,” the FDA spokesperson said.

FDA scientists found 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,” they said.

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An FDA study found Listeria monocytogenes was present in almost 18 percent of the avocados it tested, and Salmonella appeared in about 0.74 percent.

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Newsweek reports that low levels of Listeria shouldn’t make you too sick unless you’re pregnant or have a weakened immune system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Listeria poisoning can cause mild intestinal illness, including diarrhea and vomiting. The CDC notes that a Listeria infection can become more severe if the bacteria spreads beyond the intestines.

Avocado toast.
Source: Getty Images
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Here's how to store avocados the right way.

The best way to store an avocado is to leave it on the counter until it ripens and then put it in the refrigerator, which slows down the ripening process, said registered dietitian Carly Sedlacek with the Cleveland Clinic.

If you’re only using half of the avocado, putting the other half in the refrigerator should keep it fresh for a couple of days. Adding lemon or lime juice to the open avocado can help preserve the avocado meat and prevent it from turning brown, Sedlacek said. Olive oil is another solution.

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