Avocado-cutting injuries cost ACC almost $70,000 last year and figures show the number of people slicing themselves while trying to prepare the fruit has increased over the past three years.

As the popularity of avocados has increased, so too has "avocado hand" - stabbed or slashed hands from trying to cut the fruit.

Last year ACC received 162 claims for injuries involving avocados, up from 137 in 2015 and 118 in 2014.

The cost of those claims to date has risen accordingly. Last year ACC paid out $68,589 and in 2014 the figure was $54,945.

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An ACC spokesman said the figures were collated by searching for the word avocado in the "what you were doing" section of claim forms but, because the level of detail provided could vary greatly, the data could not be presented as definitive.

Last week the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons called for safety labels on the fruit to help reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment.

Former president of the plastic surgery section of the Royal Society of Medicine, Simon Eccles, told the Times he treated about four patients a week with avocado hand at Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals in London.

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

Often the injuries involve serious nerve or tendon damage, which requires surgery.

Even celebrities are not immune to avocado hand.

Meryl Streep was seen with her hand bandaged in 2012 after cutting her hand while chopping up an avocado.

Kiwi singer Brooke Fraser also had surgery on her hand after slicing it while cutting an avocado in 2015.

She posted a photo on Instagram of her during surgery saying: "For everyone who's been asking, I was cutting an avocado a few days ago when the knife slipped and kinda sorta went through my hand."

"Had successful surgery today to repair the nerve I severed so I WILL be able to play music again!"

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver also tweeted about avocado hand last week urging people to "just put it on a board" and sharing a link to a 2010 video of him explaining how to prepare an avocado.

His advice is to put the avocado on a board, rather than holding it in your hand, before trying to ram a knife into the stone.