Please, Don't Eat Deep Fried Toothpicks

A health warning from South Korea's food ministry is begging people to stop eating fried toothpicks in a bizarre new social media trend.

There's been an obvious uptick in dangerous and alarming social media trends in the past few years. From the Tide Pod challenge to the Benadryl challenge, influencers are convincing users to put their health at risk.

In the latest trend, toothpicks that look like curly fries after being deep fried are being consumed by South Koreans participating in a TikTok and Instagram trend.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said on X, "Their safety as food has not been verified. Please do not eat (them)."

Some users season their starch toothpicks with powdered cheese, but that doesn't erase the fact that these are indeed toothpicks and not food. Toothpicks in South Korea do differ from those in the United States, however. They are green, for one, and are made out of sweet potato and corn starch. They are biodegradable and dissolve in water, according to Reuters.

The trend has been popular on "mukbang," which are online eating shows posted on social media that show people eating excessive amounts of food. Now, users are testing the toothpicks.

In 2020, China outlawed "mukbangs," because they promote binge eating and contribute to food waste. Influencers can be fined up to $14,000 dollars if they violate the law.

The MFDS also wrote on X that starch toothpicks are a hygiene product. “The safety of sanitary products is managed according to standards and specifications for ingredients, manufacturing methods, and uses, but their safety as food has not been verified. Do not consume.”


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