South Korean health officials advise against viral deep-fried toothpick trend

South Korean health officials advise against viral deep-fried toothpick trend

This practice may appear symptomatic of pica, a condition characterised by the consumption of non-food items
South Korean health officials advise against viral deep-fried toothpick trend

Web Desk

|

27 Jan 2024

A bizarre trend has gained traction in South Korea, where social media users are sharing videos of consuming deep-fried edible toothpicks. 

This unusual practice, however, has prompted government warnings due to potential harmful effects on health.

In a social media statement, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety strongly discouraged the consumption of fried toothpicks, emphasising that their safety is unverified.

"Their suitability as food has not been authenticated," stated the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in a Wednesday post on micro blogging platform X

 "Kindly refrain from ingesting them," it added.

Toothpicks in South Korea are crafted using a combination of corn or potato starch and sorbitol, a natural sweetener found in fruits that functions as a gentle laxative.

These environmentally friendly toothpicks are both biodegradable and water-soluble, akin to dissolvable packing peanuts.

Infused with food coloring to achieve a green hue, they are commonly used in South Korean restaurants for eating finger foods.

South Korea warns against viral fried toothpick trend | REUTERS

This practice may appear symptomatic of pica, a condition characterised by the consumption of non-food items, as these toothpicks have not undergone approval for human consumption.

This recent trend is part of a broader phenomenon known as "Mukbang videos," wherein food enthusiasts consume excessive amounts of exotic foods for social media fame.

In 2021, the Chinese government prohibited these indulgent displays to discourage food waste.

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