S Korean food agency warns against eating toothpicks
SEOUL – South Korea’s food and drug safety authorities on Jan 24 issued a warning not to eat toothpicks – specifically the green ones made of cornstarch.
In response to a growing social media trend of cooking and eating the toothpicks, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said the cornstarch toothpicks are supposed to be used only for sanitary purposes.
The officials explained that the toothpicks are hygiene items, just like cups and straws, and are not subject to the safety regulations that apply to food products.
The ministry’s warning came after content creators on YouTube and other social media platforms showcased various ways of cooking and consuming starched toothpicks.
In YouTube Shorts videos, toothpicks are fried, doused in various sauces, or used as noodles for instant ramyeon. The YouTube Shorts video with the highest views has reached about 4.4 million views as at Jan 24.
Some online users raised concerns about consuming toothpicks, while others found the idea comical and intriguing. One comment read: “I feel like I shouldn’t eat them, but they look delicious.” Another expressed concern, saying: “I heard that there’s a warning on the toothpick package advising against frying them.”
The officials said that although starched toothpicks are made from edible ingredients, their safety cannot be guaranteed, and reaffirmed their commitment to promoting a secure environment for proper use of hygiene products. – THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK