Lifestyle & Human Interest

Meryl Streep Victim of 'Avocado Hand.' Doctors Say They Need Warning Labels


Meryl Streep needed hand surgery in 2012 after a kitchen mishap involving an avocado.

Streep was way ahead of our time, as “avocado hand” is just now bursting onto the scene in kitchens across the globe — for the most ridiculous, embarrassing, cringe-worthy reason.

Here’s the deal: people are buying avocados at a record pace, stemming from a better understanding of the myriad of health benefits that come from eating the fleshy green fat. But common sense doesn’t come easy to folks, as hospitals are seeing a surge in knife injuries that happen after well-meaning ‘chefs’ attempt to slice an avocado while holding it in their hands.

Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay must be cringing. And yelling at all the worst cooks in America to exercise some basic kitchen safety skills, please.

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According to U.K. newspaper The Times, “avocado hand” is on the rise in London. The Times reported that staff at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London have come to expect a “post-brunch surge” of hand injuries every Saturday.

According to Simon Eccles, former president of the plastic surgery section of the Royal Society of Medicine, he’s accustomed to treating a whopping four avocado-handed patients a week at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London. Some of these injuries run deep, causing nerve and tendon damage that is irreparable.

“People do not anticipate that the avocados they buy can be very ripe and there is minimal understanding of how to handle them,” Eccles explained. “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 recognizable,” Eccles suggested. “Perhaps we could have a cartoon picture of an avocado with a knife, and a big red cross going through it?”

If you’re unsure how to approach cutting into an avocado, chef Jamie Oliver has a thorough tutorial. Oliver explained that the majority of accidents happen when trying to remove the “stone,” or pit from the center of the avocado.

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Many advanced chefs will cup the avocado in hand and use a razor-sharp knife to remove the pit. Oliver suggests this technique be reserved for experienced chefs — the average cook should stick with a cutting board when removing the pit, removing the risk of injury.

The avocado mishap isn’t just a Londoner problem — doctors stateside are seeing the same injuries as well. “Avocados are becoming a much more popular fruit and a dish people feel more comfortable preparing,” NYU Langone Medical Center’s doctor Sheel Sharma told CBS News.

“I’ve definitely seen an increase in the number of injuries to the hand from slicing avocados,” Sharma said, noting that the avocado injury does not discriminate. “I have seen a range of celebrity chefs to bankers to housewives to filmmakers and people of all ages,” he stated.

So should this bad boy fruit come with a warning label? Or do people just need to get a grip? (No, not that sort of grip. You’ll cut yourself.) What do you think?

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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