The Food and Drug Administration says you should wash your avocados to avoid harmful bacteria.

The FDA is charged with keeping American consumers safe from contaminated foods. As part of this mission, the FDA tested over 1,600 avocados to look for the presence of pathogens - specifically, Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. They found that nearly 20% of the avocados they inspected had evidence of the pathogen.

What does the FDA want you to do with your avocados?

The FDA says that even though you don't eat the inside of the avocado, you should still thoroughly wash the outside. Otherwise, the knife you use to cut it could transfer bacteria onto the part of the avocado you eat.

"Foodsafety.gov also recommends that consumers scrub firm produce (which includes avocados) with a clean produce brush, and then dry it with a clean cloth towel or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present."

The FDA says that you should eat avocados right after you cut them, which limits the amount of pathogen you can be exposed to - if the pathogen is present.

Bottom line: just because you don't eat the skin of the avocado, doesn't mean you shouldn't wash them.