Emergency Departments Are Seeing Alarming Cases of 'Avocado Hand'

Avocado | © Pixabay
Avocado | © Pixabay
Photo of Andrew Webb
Food & Drink Editor10 May 2017

Avocados; healthy, trendy, and potentially, deadly.

A report in today’s Times newspaper highlights the fact that UK A&E departments are seeing more and more cases of ‘Avocado Hand’ – instances where amateur chefs and home cooks are stabbing or slashing their hands while preparing the fruit. Indeed, so bad is this most ‘first-world’ of problems, that none other than The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons is calling for warning label on avocados highlighting the potential dangers.

Warning, contains big nut

The secretary of the association is quoted as saying: “People do not anticipate that the avocados they buy can be very ripe and there is minimal understanding of how to handle them. We don’t want to put people off the fruit but I think warning labels are an effective way of dealing with this. It needs to be recognisable. Perhaps we could have a cartoon picture of an avocado with a knife, and a big red cross going through it?”

Sadly, the dilemma isn’t a new one. The Guardian ran a feature on the issue way back in 2006, but ‘pre smashed avo instagram’, people refused to listen. Since then the problem’s only got worse – not only that – it’s spread globally. Last week the wife of a staffer at the New York Times was the latest victim, and had to be taken to ER after slashing her hand cutting an avocado. Here’s how they think you should prepare one.

Avocados down south, frozen burgers up north

Perhaps, like poor air quality and unaffordable housing, ‘avocado hand’ is an issue that, for the moment at least, seems confined to southern England and London. When Twitter user Caroline Page cut herself trying to open an avocado, she was treated at Lancashire Teaching Hospital. There, she was informed that this type of injury is normally seen by people trying to separate frozen beef burgers. Food just got a whole lot deadlier.

Maybe the lesson here is that avocado is like a deadly vegetarian version of the Japanese puffer fish, fugu. And the preparation of smashed avo on sourdough is best left to hipsters, and not something to attempt at home. After all, why not eat out at 10 of London’s best restaurants with avocado on the menu, and let someone else take the risk? If you must play with fire, then at least get the 3 In 1 Avocado Slicer Skinner Fruit Peeler Scooper Pitter Tool!

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