The toothpicks in question aren't wooden like the ones used in the U.S. — they're made of starch
The South Korean government is asking its citizens not to eat fried toothpicks after the trend went viral in the country.
The toothpicks in question are made of starch — they're not the wooden ones often used in the U.S. But the South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety still warned its citizens that the green hygiene sticks, which resemble mini green curly fries when cooked, have not been verified as safe to eat.
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The trend has reportedly become popular after it was seen on mukbang shows on social media, a genre of video in which people show themselves eating excessive amounts of food, or food that is considered strange, Reuters reported.
Videos from these shows include people frying up the little green sticks in frying pans with oil and adding seasoning like powdered cheese to them.
— 식품의약품안전처 (@TheMFDS) January 26, 2024
In another social media post on the subject, the South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said that the sticks, which can also be made with sweet potato, meet the country's standards as a hygiene product, but that's all.
Per Reuters, they're often used in South Korean restaurants to pick up finger foods.
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