a tree with a bunch of avocados growing

UK panel show QI has left audiences reeling after announcing avocados – millennials’ favourite food – aren’t vegan. Vegan food contains no animal products and harms no animals, but TV host Sandi Toksvig explained that avocados, as well as almonds, cucumbers, and several other plants, aren’t vegan because of bee exploitation.

The bees that pollinate these products are part of migratory beekeeping practices; they’re put on a truck and driven to another part of the country, where they can suffer poor health because of the transportation. Travelling bees suffer shorter life spans and greater stress levels, which can weaken their ability to fight off disease and parasites.

Because migratory beekeeping harms animals, the products of it are not strictly vegan.

However, there’s good news for vegans and bee-lovers: migratory beekeeping is not used on all avocado farms in the world. It’s mostly used for large commercial farms. Buying locally-grown or organic fruits and vegetables is a good way to ensure your produce is bee-friendly.

In New Zealand, managed bee colonies have been on the rise since a mite destroyed many of our wild bees in 2000. However, migratory beekeeping still isn’t widely practised, so local businesses are still safe in selling avocado toast.