Doctors warn against the dangers of ‘avocado hand’

Consumers are seriously injuring their hands trying to cut the popular fruit

The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) is calling for warning labels to be placed on avocados to help reduce the number of consumers injured while cutting the fruit.

The association reports of serious nerve and tendon injuries that require surgery, which doesn’t guarantee patients will regain the full use of their hand.

“People do not anticipate that the avocados they buy can be very ripe and there is minimal understanding of how to handle them,” plastic surgeon Simon Eccles told The Times.

“We don’t want to put people off the fruit but I think warning labels are an effective way of dealing with this,” he added. “It needs to be recognizable. Perhaps we could have a cartoon picture of an avocado with a knife, and a big red cross going through it?”

Eccles said he treated approximately four cases, of what is commonly referred to as 'avocado hand,' each week at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London.

And in New Zealand, avocado-cutting injuries cost the Accident Compensation Scheme (ACC) nearly $70,000. According to the New Zealand Herald, ACC – the government agency responsible for administering the country's universal no-fault accidental injury scheme -- received 162 claims for injuries involving avocados, up from 137 in 2015 and 118 in 2014.

There’s no shortage of how-to videos from well-known chefs and television personalities including Martha Stewart, demonstrating how to safely cut an avocado.

In a 60-second video on his website, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver suggests first cutting the avocado in half before firmly hitting the seed with a knife to remove it.

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