South Koreans Urged Against Eating Deep-Fried Toothpicks

source: CNN

South Korea, known for its trendsetting ways, has sparked a questionable craze that even has the government raising eyebrows. Forget the latest K-drama – people are munching on fried toothpicks now. 🤢

This micro-trend turned macro has caught the attention of health officials in China too, who are sounding the alarm over the potential risks associated with ingesting the toothpicks.

The toothpicks are made from starch, turned green with some form of colouring, and then dipped into hot oil until they puff up. They are then topped off with seasonings like cheese or spicy powder before being consumed.

source: Time

While these short and enticing videos may make the trend appear harmless and even pleasant on the tongue, it’s crucial to scrutinise the ingredients used in creating these deep-fried starch toothpicks.

According to South China Morning Press, the primary components consist of sweet corn and potato, mixed with sorbitol – a sugar substitute commonly used in various food products.

Unfortunately, the consumption of sorbitol can lead to undesirable health effects, including bloating and flatulence.

This peculiar trend, originating from a live-streaming platform where content creators indulge in consuming unconventional foods, has quickly gained traction in South Korea and is now making waves in China.

@brutamericaA new trend has taken over social media in South Korea: eating deep friend starch toothpicks.♬ original sound – Brut.

The swift and widespread nature of this toothpick phenomenon has raised eyebrows, prompting the South Korean government to step in and issue warnings about the potential risks to public health.

In response to the escalating concern, health officials in China have also joined the chorus, issuing their own warnings to raise awareness about the potential hazards associated with this viral trend.

On 24 January, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety took to X to issue a cautionary advisory.

The ministry urged individuals to abstain from consuming the “deep-fried toothpicks,” emphasising that starch toothpicks are not recognised as edible products, and their safety as food has not undergone verification.

While the allure of viral sensations is undeniable, it is essential to prioritise health and well-being over fleeting trends that may come with unforeseen consequences.

Cover image via Bored Panda and Time