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18th Jun 2024

People only just realising avocados might not actually be vegan


It comes down to the bees

Avocados, usually cited as the reason millennials can’t afford to buy their homes, are now being questioned as a suitable food for vegans.

The creamy green fruit, also blamed for causing “avocado hand” injuries by cack-handed attempts to remove them from their skin, is, some suggest, not vegan-friendly after all due to the way they’re farmed.

ABC News raised the question – Should vegans stop eating almonds and avocados? – in a 2018 op-ed after a clip from the BBC panel show QI resurfaced.

The clip suggested that avocados, as well as almonds, kiwi, and butternut squash, technically shouldn’t be designated vegan because of a system called “migratory beekeeping.”

Commercial farms in US states like California have to shuttle bees between farms in the backs of trucks because there are not enough native bees in the region to pollinate the plants on which they grow, The Kitchen reports.

Still failing to see the connection? Well, many vegans tend to avoid honey because bees are exploited in order for the sweet substance to be harvested.

So, if the bees are being incarcerated in the back of trucks for long periods of time, maybe even mishandled along the way, then perhaps vegans will think twice about eating avocados. So goes the logic.

However, The Kitchen notes, that not every farm in the US uses the bee-move to pollinate plants, so purchasing produce from smaller farms may well solve the issue.

On QI, host Sandi Toksvig asked what can be eaten from a choice of avocados, almonds, melons, kiwis, or butternut squash, by “strict vegans.”

When one contestant answers “any of them,” Toksvig informs him that he is wrong, for the “same reason as honey.”

“Because they’re so difficult to cultivate naturally, all of these crops rely on bees, which are placed on the back of trucks and taken long distances across the country. It’s migratory bee-keeping and an unnatural use of animals and there are lots of foods that fall foul of this.”

According to the Global Food Security Programme, the UK gets most of its avocados from Mexico but also relies on imports from Peru, South Africa, Chile, Israel and Spain.

Vegan Food and Living wrote about the avocado conundrum, and in its article examined what The Vegan Society, the creators of the words, ‘vegan’ and ‘veganism’ define that as. Veganism, it explained “is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all form of exploitation of, and cruelty of, animals for food, clothing or other purpose.”

Related links:

Little boy heartbroken after kids snub his birthday party because his mum made vegan cake

‘I quit being vegan to eat meat and organs daily – it has cured my anxiety and depression

Schoolboy’s grim vegan joke should never have made it to air – but everyone can’t stop laughing