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Recent reports suggest a significant rise in the amount of people suffering from ‘Avocado Hand’. The health benefits of avocados have seen a rise in their popularity, but this has also increased the number of injuries seen through A & E as fans of the fruit try to remove the stone.

Dawn Rose, a Multi-Track Solicitor at Simpson Millar, takes a look at how supermarkets could take more responsibility with the safety of their consumers.

Slash Wounds

Amateur chefs are hitting A & E with serious stab and slash wounds as a result of trying to get through the hard outer exterior of the avocado and finding their knife either slicing right through an unexpectedly soft stone, or slipping right out of the fruit altogether. They are much worse than small cuts and many of the cases have resulted in nerve and tendon injuries which often need intricate surgery and sometimes, post-op physio to ensure a speedy recovery.

Because the popularity of avocados has only been a fairly recent revolution for brunch enthusiasts, it is common for consumers to be unaware of the dangers of cutting into a ripe avocado and are often not sure of how to go about preparing them.

Growing Phenomenon

Whilst figures of the trend haven’t been made official yet, the problem had already gone global.

In 2012, Meryl Streep was photographed with a bandaged hand after having an accident with an avocado. She had to undergo surgery to ensure full and effective recovery from the incident. In New Zealand, there have been 300 reported cases of people claiming compensation for avocado related injuries in the last five years. Closer to home, in a hospital in London, it is reported that there are around 4 victims of ‘Avocado Hand’ each week.

Product Labelling

Government Law on food labelling doesn’t include warnings about safe preparation of food. According to the law, “You must show an appropriate warning on the label if your food contains certain ingredients,” but advice on preparing the food safely is not required. Equally, there is advice from the Foods Standards Agency on Safer Food, but no information on using sharp objects to prepare food. However, The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons are calling for safety labels to reduce the amount of injuries coming through hospitals.

Iceland Has The Answer

After hospitals and doctors requested that supermarkets take the situation with avocados more seriously, Iceland came up with a solution instead of a warning label. Pre-sliced, frozen avocado is being sold in Iceland stores for £2.50 per sliced avocado. The BBC has also come to the rescue through their Good Food website, where there is detailed instructions on how to correctly cut an avocado.

Dawn comments:

“Whilst this may seem a trivial topic of conversation, it is a real problem and annoyingly could be easily solved with a simple label.”

“Supermarkets should take responsibility of the safety of their consumers no matter what the issue. Avocados are seen as a healthy option and have as a result, become a popular food to eat. If cutting an avocado has been recognised by doctors as a serial problem, businesses have a duty of care to do everything in their power to help.”

“It’s good to see some supermarkets attempting to solve the problem, but there could be more effort where labelling is concerned and that doesn’t just apply to the safety of cutting up an avocado. This highlights the importance of health and safety guidelines in the preparation of all food.”

Written by Dawn Rose.

For more information on personal injury and the services offered by Simpson Millar, please call:

0808 129 3304

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