Was cooking chicken in cold medicine a real trend?

  • Reports of NyQuil chicken took off after the FDA released a warning on Sept. 15.
  • Data shows few people were interested in the dish before the FDA’s statement.
  • Experts say NyQuil chicken is another example of a ‘trend’ with few real-world examples.

Earlier this month, social media users were shaking their heads at the latest example of the crazy antics of Gen Z: NyQuil chicken. The slimy, teal concoction was the latest dangerous social media trend, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, which begged people to not cook chicken in cold medication. News of the warning began to spread in the media.

But data fails to show NyQuil chicken was more than a few viral posts before the FDA’s Sept. 15 announcement. It wasn’t until after the warning that interest in NyQuil chicken spiked.

Folklore experts note that the NyQuil chicken challenge seems to be the latest internet “trend” to receive massive amounts of coverage despite few or zero real-world examples.

“Every week we have a new Tide Pod challenge, a new NyQuil chicken, a new Blue Whale suicide challenge,” said Andrew Peck, an assistant professor of strategic communication at Miami University whose research examines hoaxes, rumors and urban legends.

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