FDA Warns Against TikTok Videos Encouraging People to Cook Chicken in NyQuil: 'Very Unsafe'

The social media trend seemingly stems from a 2017 tweet that was meant to be a joke

Photo: Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty

First Tide pods, now NyQuil — there's another unsafe trend circulating social media.

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning again the NyQuil chicken challenge, which was first introduced in 2017 and gained traction once again on TikTok earlier this year. Videos of the "sleepy chicken" tutorial show people pouring the cold and cough medicine over raw chicken and then cooking it.

"A recent social media video challenge encourages people to cook chicken in NyQuil (acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and doxylamine) or another similar OTC cough and cold medication, presumably to eat," the FDA statement read.

Along with calling the challenge "silly, unappetizing" and "very unsafe," the FDA warned of the toxic side effects of cooking and consuming the chicken.

"Boiling a medication can make it much more concentrated and change its properties in other ways. Even if you don't eat the chicken, inhaling the medication's vapors while cooking could cause high levels of the drugs to enter your body," the statement added.

The FDA followed up by adding "it could also hurt your lungs."

"Put simply: Someone could take a dangerously high amount of the cough and cold medicine without even realizing it," the agency stated.

While it's now reached a TikTok audience, NyQuil chicken has been around since 2017. Tristan Depew, who tweeted a picture of it in 2017, told NPR it was meant to be a joke.

"I have seen it on TikTok, which is a bit more concerning because the audience of my original tweet — which I do think started it all — is notably older," Depew said. "There is something to be said about the concern that the children over on TikTok might not treat this with as much caution."

Most of the videos on social media now feature people criticizing the "sleepy chicken," including doctors on TikTok.

New Jersey-based family physician, Dr. Jen Caudle, posted a TikTok video urging followers "do not do this."

"Do not cook NyQuil. Do not cook food in NyQuil. It could be potentially dangerous," she said in the clip, reiterating the FDA's warning. "This is not safe. This is not okay. This is not healthy."

She offered tips to parents and mainly advised them to keep medicine "locked up and secure."

Similarly, in 2018, health experts warned against "The Tide Pod Challenge," in which participants filmed themselves eating the soap-filled capsules. Biting into the detergent capsules became so popular that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission was forced to tweet out a warning: "Please don't eat laundry pods."

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