Avocados: a healthy source of fats, a brunch staple, and, apparently, the reason millennials will never get on the property ladder.
But according to a Michelin-starred chef, there’s a dark side to avocados and we should actually stop eating them because of it.
Top Irish chef JP McMahon, who owns Michelin star restaurants Aniar and Tartare, says avocados are “the blood diamonds of Mexico.”
According to McMahon, restaurants should stop serving them and we should replace the fruit with Jerusalem artichokes.
“I don’t use them because of the impact they have on the countries that they are coming from — deforestation in Chile, violence in Mexico,” he told the Irish Independent.
“For me, they are akin to battery chickens. I think Irish restaurants should make a conscious effort to not use avocados or at least reduce the amount they use. You can get Fair Trade avocados but most are not produced this way.”
McMahon is imploring not just restaurants but the public to stop eating them.
“Change won’t happen unless consumers avoid them,” he continued. “We don’t use any in our restaurants. There are plenty of alternatives. We have Jerusalem artichokes (as an alternative to avocados) with hollandaise in our brunch menu in Tartare at the moment.”
Despite the fact that the avocado is one of the trendiest and most popular foods of the moment — there are restaurants dedicated to the fruit both in New York (Avocaderia) and London (Avobar) — an increasing number of eateries have removed the so-called superfood from their menus in recent months.
Wild Strawberry Cafe in Buckinghamshire, UK, for example, last week announced it would no longer serve avocados.
“The Western world’s obsession with avocado has been placing unprecedented demand on avocado farmers, pushing up prices to the point where there are even reports of Mexican drug cartels controlling lucrative exports,” the cafe wrote on its Instagram page.
“Forests are being thinned out to make way for avocado plantations. Intensive farming on this scale contributes to greenhouse emissions by its very nature and places pressure on local water supplies.”
However, not everyone is convinced we need to stop eating our beloved avocados immediately, with some restaurateurs pointing out that there are lots of foods, from beef to almonds, which are not always produced sustainably.
“I don’t think we should get too distracted by some cafes that may be banning it,” said Dan Crossley, executive director of Food Ethics Council, an English charity.
“It does raise interesting and important questions on where we get our food from… but I don’t think a wide-scale ban of any particular product will solve the problems we have.”