The Food and Drug Administration is warning Americans to stay away from cooking “NyQuil chicken” in the latest social media challenge.
People on TikTok and other platforms have been cooking chicken in the over-the-counter, cough-and-cold medicine and posting their videos with the tag #sleepychicken.
“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,” the FDA warned last Thursday.
TikTok has purged search results for “NyQuil chicken.”
“Content that promotes dangerous behavior has no place on TikTok. This is not trending on our platform, but we will remove content if found,” a TikTok spokesperson told Bloomberg.
The FDA warning and search result purge have not yet deterred the “#sleepychicken” trend, which has 1.3 million videos on TikTok as of Tuesday, according to USA Today.
The risks to those who take the challenge come not just from the NyQuil fumes but from the possibility of undercooking the chicken.
“We always follow the label, and this is definitely an off-label trend that’s happening. There’s already a microbiological risk and adding in this medicine would be adding a chemical risk as well,” Penn State food safety educator Andy Hirneisen told Bloomberg.