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Plastic surgeon suggests warning labels after rise in ‘avocado hand’

Four patients a week are treated at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital for wounds caused by an avocado accident.

An eminent plastic surgeon has suggested that avocados should carry warning labels following a rise in the number of knife injuries from cutting into the fruit.

Simon Eccles, honorary secretary of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said he treated about four patients a week at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital for wounds caused by an avocado accident, with staff dubbing the injury “avocado hand”.

Mr Eccles told The Times: “People do not anticipate that the avocados they buy can be very ripe and there is minimal understanding of how to handle them. We don’t want to put people off the fruit but I think warning labels are an effective way of dealing with this.

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Surgeons are treating around four patients a week at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital for avocado-related injuries (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“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?”

David Shewring, vice-president of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, also told the newspaper: “Recently the health benefits of avocado have been advocated, with an increase in their popularity – and a consequent increase in related injuries.”

Figures from New Zealand’s accident compensation scheme show 303 people lodged claims over three years for avocado injuries, with NZ dollars 87,527 (£47,000) paid out in that period.

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Actress Meryl Streep injured her hand while cutting an avocado in 2012 (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Actor Meryl Streep was photographed with a bandaged hand in 2012, later revealing she injured herself while cutting an avocado.

The generally accepted safest way to cut an avocado is to slice it in half length-ways before lowering the knife firmly into the stone and lifting it out.

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