Photo: Getty Images
  /  09.21.2022

Although it seems like it should go without saying, the FDA is warning social media users that marinating their chicken in NyQuil could be a recipe for disaster. Experts can thank TikTok for starting yet another questionable craze dubbed the #NyQuilChickenChallenge. The FDA wants those trying the trend to know the repercussions can be serious, even deadly.

“One social media trend relying on peer pressure is online video clips of people misusing nonprescription medications and encouraging viewers to do so too. These video challenges, which often target youths, can harm people — and even cause death,” the FDA said in a statement late last week (Sept. 15).

While most people choose to marinate their chicken in delicious, edible seasonings, TikTokers have opted for acetaminophen, dextromethorphan and doxylamine — ingredients commonly found in NyQuil and other over-the-counter cough and cold medicines.

A recent viral video clip shows a man cooking chicken on a stovetop. He has two pieces of the raw meat and without an ounce of seasoning in sight, he pours about “four-thirds of the bottle” onto the poultry. The TikToker adds that “if it’s your first time doing this, you can get away with about a fifth” of the bottle of NyQuil. According to the FDA, that is not a good idea.

“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. 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 FDA’s statement continued.

Of course, social media users couldn’t believe they had to be warned against the trend. “Why tf am I watching the news [and] they tellin’ folks not to cook chicken with NyQuil because of a TikTok challenge? Like why are ppl so stupid?” one person asked on Twitter. Another listed recent dangerous challenges that have been popular online: “Breakfast: Coffee. Lunch: NyQuil Chicken. Dinner: Tide Pods. Exercise: Milk Crate Challenge. A day in the life of a Gen Z TikToker.”

The FDA urged anyone suffering from harmful effects of the #NyQuilChickenChallenge to seek immediate medical assistance or to contact poison control at 1-800-222-1222. Hopefully, soon, we’ll see the return of seasoning being used to marinate food. In the meantime, Twitter users are asking for more positive trends to become popular: “I got a challenge for you. Love yourselves more and cherish your body more, eat well and become stronger than you ever imagined possible.”


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