- South Korea’s food ministry is telling people to stop eating toothpicks.
- People have been filming themselves eating toothpicks, which look like fries after being cooked.
- Toothpicks in South Korea are made of sweet potato or corn starch instead of wood.
South Korean authorities are telling people to stop deep frying and eating their toothpicks.
“This is not a product to eat! Their safety as food has not been verified,” South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety wrote on X on Wednesday.
The warnings came after people began uploading videos of themselves consuming fried toothpicks. The videos are part of South Korea’s long-running “Mukbang” craze, where people film themselves eating exorbitant amounts of junk food or exotic foods.
Most toothpicks in South Korea are made of sweet potato or corn starch instead of wood. Their green color comes from the food coloring that is applied in the manufacturing process.
Some people have even offered tips online on how to enhance the savoriness of the toothpicks, which look like fries after they’ve been cooked. Others, however, have expressed skepticism about the topic.
“I don’t understand the kids who eat it. There are tons of delicious foods out there but they fry toothpicks and eat them with soup,” read one comment on TikTok. “Toothpicks have no flavor.”
The toothpick trend in South Korea is not the first time authorities have gotten involved to warn people about the danger of consuming certain items. In 2018, the “Tide pod challenge” saw people filming themselves chewing on the brightly colored laundry detergent packets and spitting out the soap, sometimes with lethal results.
The challenge grew so popular that authorities and the pods’ manufacturer, Procter & Gamble, issued warnings to people to stop ingesting the pods.