Please Stop Eating Fried Toothpicks, Food Ministry Begs

Despairing health officials in South Korea issued a warning Wednesday imploring people to please, for the love of God, stop eating fried toothpicks.

Recent viral posts on TikTok and Instagram show people frying and then eating green toothpicks, adding various seasonings like powdered cheese to give them some flavor.

The toothpicks, which are typically made from sweet potato or corn starch, are intended to be an eco-friendly alternative to their more classic wooden cousins—but are nevertheless a sanitary product, South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said in a warning. “This is not a product to eat!” the ministry wrote in an X post.

“Their safety as food has not been verified,” the post added, pleading with readers: “Please do not eat (them).”

Videos have racked up millions of views recently of social media users cooking the toothpicks until they resemble something like novelty curly fries that might be served on special holidays. The picks are often made available in South Korean restaurants, where they’re also used for picking up finger foods, Reuters reports.

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