Yes you read the headline right, and if you’d followed the Tide Pod eating fiasco from a few years ago, or the cooking with NyQuil incidents the you’ll probably be aware social media has a lot to answer for. And yes the bizarre trend of eating friend toothpicks came from TikTok and Instagram.
While this may seem like an unusual and harmless fad it seems that health officials in South Korea are more concerned about this than you may initially think. Sounding the alarm, urging people to refrain from eating these fried toothpicks.
As unfortunately there are some potential health risks to eating fried toothpicks.
The Rise of the Fried Toothpick Trend
The fried toothpick trend gained traction in South Korea through a series of captivating videos that captivated social media users. Individuals were seen frying toothpicks until they resembled curly fries and then adding various seasonings like powdered cheese or spicy powder to enhance the flavor.
Unverified Safety Concerns
Whilst the toothpicks used in this trend are made from corn or sweet potato starch and dyed with food coloring they aren’t designed to be eaten. And the particular starch is not been verified.
Realistically consuming one or two isn’t going to do any harm, but platefuls are another story. There is also the fact that these toothpicks of course are not subject to the same contaminant checks as actual food.
The Potential Risks
While the fried toothpick trend may seem harmless and even amusing. South Korean health officials are concerned about the potential risks associated with consuming them. Realistically it’s most likely to cause gastric distress as these starches are of course the least edible of the fibers from these plants. It is difficult to determine the long-term effects of ingesting these fried toothpicks.
Lessons from Previous Food Trends
The fried toothpick trend is not the first instance of a hazardous food trend spreading through social media platforms. In 2022 the U.S. FDA issued a warning against cooking chicken in NyQuil highlighting the potential dangers of following unconventional cooking methods.
Similarly, in 2018, Procter & Gamble urged consumers not to eat Tide PODS laundry detergent after videos of people consuming them went viral. These incidents serve as reminders of the need for caution when it comes to embracing unconventional food trends.
Promoting Food Safety Awareness
While the fried toothpick trend may have caught the attention of many, it is crucial to prioritize food safety and responsible consumption. Health officials and organizations play a vital role in promoting awareness about the potential risks associated with viral food trends. By educating the public about the importance of verified food products and the potential dangers of consuming unverified items, we can help prevent harmful practices from gaining popularity.