Avocado-related injuries increasing in NZ

January 16 , 2019

The number of injuries in New Zealand related to avocados has been rising over recent years, costing insurance company ACC just over NZ$800,000 since 2016.

Difficulties related to removing the pit have led to people slicing and stabbing themselves in great numbers.

Last year alone, 428 people managed to injure themselves while preparing an avocado, up from 402 in 2017 and 374 in 2016, according to local media New Zealand Herald.

The cost of those claims to date has risen accordingly. Last year ACC paid out NZ$320,371 and in 2016 the figure was NZ$232,323.

AVOCO spokesperson said people injure themselves by attempting to prepare avocados in an unsafe manner.

“A safe method is to place the avocado on a chopping board, slice the avocado longitudinally and then rotating it in order to slice the other half,” he said.

Last year the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons called for safety labels on the fruit to help reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment.

Former president of the plastic surgery section of the Royal Society of Medicine, Simon Eccles, told the Times he treated about four patients a week with what is known as ‘avocado hand’ at Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals in London.

“People do not anticipate that the avocados they buy can be very ripe and there is minimal understanding of how to handle them,” he 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. 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.”

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